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Damien’s Story of Alcoholism, Madness and Recovery

March 12th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Featured Alums, Treatment 0 comments on “Damien’s Story of Alcoholism, Madness and Recovery”

The day that Damien arrived at Serenity Springs, he was near rock bottom and looking for any kind of answer to get his life back on track. Today, after a long road back, Damien is approaching a year and a half of sobriety from drugs and alcohol. He is an alumnus of Serenity Springs, where he was able to find healing in the mind, body and spirit.

Drinking & Struggling Became Alcoholism & Madness

Damien’s journey through addiction was a slow progression. It started in high school at the age of seventeen, when he was a member of the party-goer crowd. At that time, his family didn’t recognize himself as having an addiction.

“They didn’t notice until I was about 20 because I was just drinking like everyone else.”

Then Damien started to realize he was going harder and longer than most of his friends. He recalls being the last one to stop drinking, to the point where he passed out. This alcoholic behavior became daily alcohol abuse or alcoholism. It was in 2010 that Damien went to recovery for the first time, but it was seven more years of struggling before he found a real, long term answer in Serenity Springs. There was no fear of detox or treatment itself.

“I did it not because I wanted to but because I thought I would get in trouble otherwise.”

He described his alcoholism as having evolved to a level of madness. His only friends at the time were those who were involved in it as well. He saw that he had gone down a dangerous path, but like many struggling with addiction, it took a true breaking point to bring him to truly open his eyes. For Damien, that moment came one night watching his mother.

“I had moved back into my Mom’s house at age 40. I saw her praying on her knees at 2 A.M. and I had the feeling she was praying for me”

Serenity Springs Solution

When asked what he liked most about Serenity Springs, Damien referred to his introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous as one of the most valuable benefits he gained from his time here.

“Serenity Springs offered me a real solution to my problem, which I came to find out was actually me.”

This was something he had not been able to find in past recovery attempts a step-by-step roadmap to real recovery and a long term solution. However, it was not all easy breezy during his time at Serenity Springs. The road to recovery can often have roadblocks and setbacks to overcome. The initial challenge for Damien was realizing the truth of his situation.

“Admitting I was an alcoholic was the hardest part about Serenity and the recovery process… because I had to finally start accepting it.”

After leaving Serenity Springs in November of 2017, Damien was somewhat reluctant to participate in Serenity’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Today, he realizes that it helped him out during his transition from rehab to the real world. Our IOP program has a unique approach. We provide services such as acupuncture and yoga while continuing to focus on the idea of healing mind, body, and spirit (three-part disease of addiction). It was in this program that Damien continued to work through things that he found most difficult during recovery.

“It was hard training myself to stop doing what I was taught before recovery. I felt weird when I was doing things in recovery like I was wrong.”

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Freedom from the Chains of Addiction

Today, Damien is living in Daytona Beach and enjoying his new life of sobriety and freedom from the chains of addiction. As an alumnus, he is always trying to give back what Serenity Springs gave to his life. When asked what the most rewarding part of his recovery, Damien explained that he now has an understanding of what peace of mind really means. Sobriety has allowed him to find and keep relationships that are not centered around alcohol or other negative influences. Like many of our alumni, Damien has a desire to help others that feel the hopelessness that he once knew too well. Serenity gave him a way out, a viable and lasting solution. If Damien could quickly describe what he has been doing after his time here at Serenity Springssimple-living.

WELCOME TO DAYTONA BEACH sign with palm tree on International Speedway Blvd - Serenity Springs Recovery

Damien says he has continued to employ the habits and techniques he learned while he was there that have allowed him to remain sober and happy.

“I focus on prayer and meditation, as well as regularly attending meetings to keep myself on track.”

Serenity taught him viable alternatives to alcohol when feeling the urge, including a reliance on God and being open with others about his struggle. Unlike many recovery centers, Serenity goes beyond just helping one heal physically and get away from the addiction. Our recovery plan also focuses on the mind and spirit, because believe recovery must be all-encompassing to truly break free from it.

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Sober Sons of Monmouth County, NJ: Stephen G

August 24th, 2017 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction, Featured Alums, Spiritual Experience 2 comments on “Sober Sons of Monmouth County, NJ: Stephen G”

My name is Stephen G and I am from Monmouth County, NJ, and today I am a free man. I am a person who has recovered from a hopeless state of mind and body. Serenity Springs Recovery Center not only showed me a way out of the insidious disease of addiction but also made a long-term investment in me as a sober, recovered man. This was a far cry from where I was when I arrived in the quaint little fishing and surfer town of New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Jersey Shore to Florida Coast

For years I suffered from low self-esteem and had difficulty with relationships and life in general. My insides and outsides did not match. I never developed my own sense of identity. I had grown up as normal as normal can be; surfing along the beaches of Sea Bright, playing ice hockey on the banks of the Navesink River, skateboarding in Long Branch, hanging out with buddies on Broad Street in Red Bank, rock concerts at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. All the normalcy of an all American boy growing up in Monmouth County, New Jersey. What I did not know at the time was that there was a lingering beast inside me; hidden and dormant waiting to ravage my whole world along with everything and everyone around it. I had achievements in life such as an honors student at Rumson Fair Haven High School, Dean’s List at Rutgers University, and a promising career in investment banking on Wall Street. Although one looking in might say I was a very successful man, there was always the lurking feeling that I was creating a facade and I would be found out; I was a fraud.

Times Square in Manhattan, New York City filled with people - Serenity Springs (Sober Sons of Monmouth County blog image)

Drinking, drugs, and material possessions never filled that empty hole inside. I could not find a kind word for myself. Somehow my life took me from working off Park Avenue in New York City to living on a park bench in Daytona Beach, FL. I was slowly dying. How did this happen? This is the disease of addiction.

My New Identity

One day a group of guys was placed into my life while I was at my lowest. These men had found the solution to my problem. These guys were sober and I wanted what these guys had. And guess what? These guys were from the same beaches of Monmouth County I spent my summers on. One thousand miles away. Coincidence? Definitely not! I was asked to follow their lead. I did so, and my life has never been the same.

The twelve steps these men walked me through awakened me to a side of myself I had never experienced nor dreamed off. I realized that my identity is not in the world’s belongings or materialistic things, but lives in my soul. I came to know that I am a spiritual being. Altruism, mindfulness practices, and working with others who suffer have a profound impact on my choices today.

“Little New Jersey in Florida”

Who would have thought that a large group of guys from the beaches of Monmouth County, NJ would transcend to a sleepy little surfer village, recover from addiction, and create a life beyond their wildest dreams? There are so many of us guys from Monmouth County in the recovery community that even the local grocery store now stocks up Taylor Ham pork roll!! We often joke about becoming mayor to change the town’s name to Long Branch, Asbury Park or Belmar, Florida. But we don’t have to.

Serenity Springs Surf Team - brotherhood at the beach in New Smyrna Beach, FL

We have created a brotherhood here in Florida that binds us together as recovered men helping the next guy from Monmouth County to land on our beach. Today I learned to open my heart, my mind, and spirit. I am utterly dumbfounded at the abundance of love in recovery. Today I can be gentle and kind to myself. I attribute my new found successes in life and my happiness to recovery, and the men during my recovery from addiction at Serenity Springs Recovery Center.

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Join the “recovery brotherhood” in Florida.


The Solution is Simple - Serenity Springs Addiction Recovery Blog - logo at the end of path through trees

The Solution is Simple

August 16th, 2017 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction, Featured Alums, Recover, Spiritual Experience 1 comment on “The Solution is Simple”
The Cycle of Addiction (below) illustrates the different phases of the addiction disease which will continue over and over again until the addict or alcoholic finds a Higher Power and digs into the real problem, which is SELF. A real addict cannot get out of this cycle on will power. They will continue to replace the spiritual malady (feeling restless, irritable, discontent with an obsession to use) until this power is found. (more…)

Kyle Fleming standing in front of the pond at serenity springs recovery center

Featured Serenity Springs Alumni: Kyle Fleming

February 2nd, 2017 Posted by Blog, Featured Alums, Recover, Spiritual Experience, Treatment 0 comments on “Featured Serenity Springs Alumni: Kyle Fleming”
Kyle Fleming is an alumnus of Serenity Springs Recovery Center and has about two-and-a-half years of sobriety. A native of New Jersey, consequences weren’t enough to keep Kyle sober, but they were instrumental in getting him the help he needed. (more…)

Serenity Springs Alumni Joey Mazzo

Featured Serenity Springs Alum – Joey Mazzo

December 13th, 2016 Posted by Blog, Featured Alums, Recover, Spiritual Experience, Treatment 1 comment on “Featured Serenity Springs Alum – Joey Mazzo”
Two and a half years ago, Joey Mazzo came to Serenity Springs Recovery Center and as he describes it, his life was in shambles.  (more…)

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