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.

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.

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.

Join the “recovery brotherhood” in Florida.


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