Nicole’s Sober Story:
My name is Nicole and I am a proud DH alumni. I arrived at DH February 7, 2014 as a very tired and unhappy person. My addiction is to alcohol. My story is not a sad one in the beginning. I was born into great privilege. I attended private schools and traveled the world. As the baby of a large family, I never heard the word no. I tell you this because addiction is a disease that has no boundaries. Instead of stealing to get my wine I just used my credit card. Addiction does not discriminate it can attack everyone. It obviously took me longer to hit bottom due to my circumstances, but I eventually did after years of off and on drinking. Due to many family tragedies, I used alcohol to self-medicate and it worked for a while… until it didn’t. When I finally got sick and tired of being sick and tired I sought help. I’m glad I ended up at DH. As I was being checked in late on a Friday night, I had the good fortune to have Bridget process me. She was kind and understanding. Glenda was my therapist and was a perfect fit for me. We share a similar story. She worked hard with me and never let me give up. As the time passed at DH I learned to work through my problems with a clear and sober mind. As the days turned into weeks I was amazed how being sober made me feel so much better about myself and life in general. I had great support from the people there. I made friendships there that still thrive today. I cherish them as I do my sobriety. My life today is so much more fulfilling because I live it with a clear mind and conscience. I maintain my sobriety by attending meetings at least five times a week. I also visit DH as often as I can, and am actively involved in Alumni. While I have always had a very good relationship with my husband and children, it has improved tenfold. I am still the same person yet better! My patience and stress levels have improved immensely. I continue to see the outpatient therapist that was recommended to me and to my surprise I adore her!!! While I am still a work in progress, that’s how I approach it I am happily making progress.
Michelle’s Sober Story:
Hi, I am an alcoholic and an addict, my name and my problem is Michelle. I am fifty years old so I have a long story, but I will try and not bore you! I grew up in a very Italian household, my grandfather had a wine cellar and of course I drank wine at a very young age. (This was my excuse for a long time-I’m Italian, of course I drink!). The very first time I drank with peers, it was at a slumber party at 9. All the little girls drank till they were buzzed, I drank till I puked!! My family moved around a lot, I went to 4 different high schools. One was in Venezuela where I found the best pot, cocaine and all the pills you could want and of course alcohol. My life was a big party. I went to the University of Florida because it was the number one party school in the country and it was for me! I had graduated high school in 73–Marijuana, LSD, we’re the class of ’73! And I graduated college in 1977. I always say, “if you remember the 70’s you weren’t there!” I was a teacher and my getting high and drunk never stopped, it only escalated. One day, after snorting mass quantities of coke, I drove my car into a ditch and had a seizure. I was sweaty, bloody and trying to put my car in reverse for a very long time. I would not get out of the car for my husband, but I did for the cops! I woke up in the hospital with a doctor telling me the next time he saw me I would be on a slab. I went to rehab and I was clean for 8 years… I was in the middle of the program. I LOVED IT–chairing, relay, working at intergroup , being a GSR. I was the perfect little Mrs. AA. I had 2 great boys and my life was a vacation. Until my husband went to prison and destroyed my life. (That’s another BIG story). Within a short period I was taking 35 Valium a day and drinking. I went back to rehab, and was clean for another 7 1/2 years. I had my beautiful daughter and my life was busy and great. My program was strong, too. Fifteen years ago, while at school, a sign fell on my foot and broke all five toes. I went to the ER; the doctor said he had to give me something for pain. I said, “No, I’m in recovery”. He said “How’s 40 Vicodin?” I had every intention of giving them to my husband to be taken as prescribed and I walked into my bedroom and my closet and I hid them. This began 15 years of doctor shopping, lying, and sneaking. I went through 22 rehabs–from the best, to the county. My family hated me and I didn’t care. I was helicoptered from my son’s FSU graduation as I OD’d; I was in rehab for 4 months and drank on the flight home. I had a stroke due to a brain aneurysm from snorting. I finally got a DUI. I drank before teaching and was caught at a 7-11 while guzzling by the assistant principal who was buying a pack of gum. Nine months ago after yet another detox, I found Destination Hope. I don’t know whether it was the counselors, the place, the people or the combination, but the magic returned. My enthusiasm for recovery is as it was 31 years ago. I am proud of the time I have clean instead of always beating myself up for all the relapses. I am grateful to Destination Hope for helping me. The staff really cares about the addict and gives their all to encourage growth and reflection. The experience of being with all women is a key factor. It works and believe me I have seen too many places that don’t work. DH gave me a start to a new life and that life is filled with recovery, family, God, and DH ALUMNI!
Rebekah’s Sober Story:
In order to call myself an alumni of Destination Hope, it is clear that my life previous to treatment must have been in shambles. I needed help and I needed it fast. I finally got to a point of desperation in my addiction that I reached out to one of my friends who I grew up with that I knew was clean. She went out of her way to help me, and I am so grateful that she brought me to this amazing facility called Destination Hope. This was my first treatment center, so I had no idea what to expect. Naturally, at first I was so scared to be in a new place where I had to be vulnerable to all of these people I had just come into contact with. As I got more comfortable, I realized that I was here to attack the underlying cause of my addiction, given that the drugs are only a symptom of my disease. With the help of one of the most amazing women I have had the pleasure of having in my life, Anne C., I unloaded everything that I needed to in order to move on. I did not forget the past and everything that I have been through, but I acknowledge that these things happened. I now realize that had I not endured these events, I would not be exactly where I am today. Looking back on it now, I feel that I grew up a lot in Destination Hope. I will be forever grateful for Alexa for bringing me to DH, and for the techs and therapists that stood by me throughout my stay at DH. Without these people and staying connected as much as possible, I would not be able to be the person I am today. I am grateful I can say I am an alumni and am involved still with the alumni program at DH. I grow more and more each day but only because of the work I did at Destination Hope, which got me to where I am now. Life today is great. I have a roof over my head, a job, a bed to sleep in, and I am healthy. For these simple things that I now appreciate, I thank my higher power every day.
Carlee’s Sober Story:
I came to treatment as a scared little girl and left as a hopeful, recovering woman. I could not have gotten this far if it wasn’t for Destination Hope. The staff is amazing and they truly want the best for every single client that walks through the door. The eating disorder group and family night group were both very helpful to me. I was able to listen and learn from other people’s experiences as well as share my own. My therapist, Annie W, believed in me and loved me until I could learn to love myself. I am forever grateful that God put her in my life. After treatment, I went to Destination Hope’s transitional living house and continued my treatment through IOP with Juanita. The IOP group helped me tremendously as I transitioned back into the real world. I also love the continued support that I receive through the Sunday night alumni group. I look forward to it every week. Thank you all for helping me find myself and start this beautiful journey of recovery. -Carlee P.
Maria’s Family Program Story:
A mother’s perspective on her daughter’s treatment
I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am that my daughter was in treatment at Destination Hope. The therapists, ESPECIALLY Anne W, were AMAZING! At the time my daughter Lisa entered Destination Hope, she had been in at least 15 treatment facilities over an 18-month period. The family program led by Amanda and held on Tuesday nights is a wonderful program, not just for the patients and alumni, but also for the family. Family members need to understand that while their loved one has the addiction, it is a family disease. It is so important that everyone receives education and treatment of this disease, and participates in the therapy and family programs offered by Destination Hope. Amanda does such an amazing job with the Tuesday night program. While I do not live in Florida, my family made it a point to participate in these important sessions to help my daughter Lisa with her rehabilitation. Anne, Amanda and all of the staff at Destination Hope are warm and caring individuals, with empathy, and compassion. They are also straight shooters, and sometimes tell you what you might not want to hear, but it’s the truth! My daughter Lisa not only attended treatment at Destination Hope but also followed the suggestion of the therapists and continued her care through the IOP program and the Destination Hope transitional living house. She is an active alumni member and as her family, we remain in contact and continue to participate in any way we can. Lisa celebrated a year of sobriety on July 16, 2014, and there was no other place to celebrate this milestone but at the Tuesday night Family program! I hope that you never have to admit your loved one into a treatment facility, but if you do, I strongly encourage you to seek out Destination Hope. I truly believe that Destination Hope helped save my daughter Lisa’s life! They are truly amazing and my family is blessed that Lisa had the ability to receive treatment at Destination Hope!! – Maria G New Hope, PA
Melissa D’s Sober Story:
Hi, my name is Melissa D and I am an alcoholic. I am an alumnus of Destination Hope and my sober date is March 17, 2010. I am from New Jersey and I am 32 years old. I work for the state, and I would not have imagined that my life would be so much better without alcohol; for that I will forever be grateful to Destination Hope. I came to DH so close to losing everything that mattered to me: my job, family, and friends all because I wasn’t able to give up the bottle. I had been drinking for 15 years, and fought every day to just get through the day, I was just surviving. In a moment of clarity I realized what was important, I chose to live, and made the call. I spent 30 days at Destination hope and an additional 60 days in a halfway house. I learned so much in my time here at DH that has made my life amazing and made friends that are still in my life today. I’m not saying every day is easy but I have learned to make the best of a situation. I have learned that I can always start my day over at any time, I start it over like 100 times a day! I have moved back to New Jersey where I have returned to my job. I have made direct amends to my family and friends. I am an active DH alumni member, and currently in school for addiction counseling to help others get through this hard place, and to help them see living life is worth the journey into recovery. I make a trip to south Florida every year to pick up my medallion, and visit DH to remind me of the journey that brought me to this new life and to stay connected to my roots. In closing, I would not change anything about my life. I may not proud of my past mistakes while I was drinking, but going through this journey has made me the woman I am today. Thank you Destination Hope for taking the time to help me, and still to this day keeping in touch.
Pamela’s Sober Story:
My name is Pamela. I am a white, educated, 50-year-old widow, mother of 4 and also a grandmother. The reason I am telling you all this is because disease does not care how old you are, what color you are, what gender you are or what age you are. There is no ‘typical’ drug addict – it can happen to anyone, so there is no shame in seeking treatment, at any age. I am so glad I have received the gift of sobriety, especially at my age. If I didn’t get help this time I am sure I would have died. At Destination Hope, I received the tools and skills needed to cope with life, on life’s terms, not my terms, and ultimately maintain long-term recovery and wellness. Here, they not only address the client’s addictions but the concerns of the family as well. Through the many hours of therapy that were given to me, whether one on one or a group setting, I was able to get to the root of my real addiction. I thought my addiction was alcohol or drugs (because of all the pain I was suffering from the senseless murder of my husband). But really, I have always struggled with one addiction or another as far back as I can remember. Whether it was drugs, alcohol or simply food… I always had to have more! My true addiction is really MORE!!! My life was really very sad before I got treatment here at Destination Hope. Day after day it was the same thing. I would wake up with a drink in my hand and go to bed the same way. I was always depressed, angry and scared. At the end, I had to drink just to maintain so I wouldn’t get sick all the time. Finally, when I had enough, I made the decision to get the help that I needed. I will never regret that decision. They really saved my life and helped to heal all the damaged family relationships that I had. I think the reason it is so different here is that everyone who had a part in my recovery process truly had real compassion about what I was going through and most of them are in recovery themselves. THEY REALLY DID KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING THROUGH! They can never fully understand what they have done for my family and me. If I can say anything at all about my experience here, it was nothing short of a miracle. Thank you for saving my life, Destination Hope. – Pam F.
Kathryn’s Sober Story:
My name is Kathryn. I am 24 years old, and I am a recovering alcoholic. Today I am recovering, and I am a functioning member of society thanks to Destination Hope. Before I came to DH, I was very lost and felt alone. I wandered into dangerous situations to capture the instant gratification that I was searching for. I was an empty shell, putting on a different mask, according to whom I was around. My therapists and the girls around me helped me discover who I really am, under the mask. We all came together to support one another, relate to their stories, and release old hurts. My therapist, Juanita, always stopped me when I fell back to old habits such as manipulation, lying, and self-pity. I had not noticed I was doing that a lot. Her attentiveness, love, and passion for this program glows through her, and inspires me to continue in the path I am in. She is so much more than a therapist; she’s a role model to women in this program. The case manager Suzie, (which at other treatment centers I went to, I never once met the case manager) would sit down with every girl, every night, and dive into conversation. She became a valued friend, not just an employee of DH. I sat with her so many nights and just talked about anything and everything. When I told her what kind of job I wanted, she instantly dove into helping me, and I was working at the job I am now 6 days later! After gaining a little self-respect, through work and dedication to my program, I began to feel better and more confident. I saw myself through a new light, and I became inspired to be the woman I was created to be in God’s eyes. I work a full-time job at a company I love. I was accepted to attend Broward College, and accepted for a grant for school. Many doors have opened since I became obedient and dedicated to my program, and continue to still. I will always be grateful to Destination Hope for their support and pure passion for their clients. I was beginning to lose faith in treatment centers, feeling as though they didn’t care, nor understand me. God’s will brought me to DH, and saved my life and for that, I am forever grateful. -XOXOXO Kathryn S.
Marleana’s Sober Story:
Before I came to Destination Hope, my relationships were falling apart, I was hurting everyone around me. I felt like I was being torn in a thousand different directions, and unable to make a single decision. I felt broken, hopeless, and completely alone. I had tried to stay clean to no avail. I found myself in and out of working a program, and decided to try something a little different. I traveled about a thousand miles from home to completely start my life over with treatment at Destination Hope. My time at DH has been invaluable to me. I was given the proper guidance, and support to get me started on a new path, and to navigate the ups and downs of early recovery. Now, I have eight months clean, and am maneuvering my way swiftly through the steps of NA with a sponsor. I work full-time at a local restaurant, live in a structured environment with friends in recovery, maintain contact with my family, and am rebuilding those core relationships. Today, I am grateful for where I am, and the best is yet to come. -Marleana B.
Joseph’s Sober Story:
Hi, my name is Joseph. My journey often times feels like a long one. As I look back at the past few years of my life, it becomes clear to me that I was much harder on myself than I had to be. It is also very clear that the suffering I experienced was a direct result of my dependence upon drugs and alcohol. Throughout my teen years, drugs and alcohol became a safe haven for me. They brought me to a place of artificial peace, or relief. If drugs and alcohol had not done so much for me, they could have never done so much to me. I also realized any and all joy I experienced during these times, correlated with my periods of sobriety.
I have spent several years of my life dissecting this relationship I developed with a substance. This relationship is absolutely destructive, not only to myself, but to everyone in my life; especially those who love me the most. There came a point for me when I had to stop trying to figure everything out.
I am so thankful for my religious upbringing; it was the stem of my relationship with God, who ultimately has begun to relieve me of the obsession to use drugs and alcohol. Despite what my “disease” would like me to think, I have a choice. A choice I only have because of my effort to practice abstinence. I believe surrender to be the pinnacle of my will. I must allow God for do for me what I cannot do for myself. I have never experienced a greater adventure.
I am indebted to Destination Hope for providing me with a safe environment to heal. I attended their in-patient men’s program for 30 days, and then continued treatment through their transitional living facility and IOP program. The level of care I experienced there was second to none. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the wisdom and experience offered me through hours of therapy with well educated, committed and compassionate counseling and clinical staff. I had the pleasure of working with one of the most devoted CEO’s in the business. Ben Brafman personally ran the family meeting held Wednesday night’s 6-9pm. It was a testament to his devotion, and ultimately an affirmation for me, that I made the right choice in coming to Destination Hope. Through these family meetings, I began some intense, but rewarding work with my family; work that I continue to pursue each day. I cannot stress enough the importance of this work. It brought about a level of honesty and integrity necessary for our recovery. Let’s not kid ourselves; our families are suffering just as much, if not more than the addict himself.
The friendships and foundation I built while at Destination Hope hold me up each day. Especially on the days I cannot stand on my own. I recommend this facility to any and all who seek treatment for drugs and alcohol. Destination Hope is a big part of my story, and for this I am grateful.