All posts by Always Hope

My 17 year old son’s View on Addiction

“A lot of people get a bad thought in their head when they hear the word addiction. The word has been engraved into our heads to be negative. Everyone whether they may admit to it or not has some form of addiction in their life. It isn’t something that is exclusive to certain people.

I grew up around people who had and still have problems with addiction, my father was one person who had problems with addiction when I was growing up. Growing up and seeing people with problems when it comes to addiction is challenging especially while being young. My father was prescribed painkillers and later became mentally dependent on them. This started to become a problem not only for him but for my mother and brother. Since this became a problem he knew he had to quit so he did, he went to a rehab in Canada and it worked for him, but he didn’t like the way the rehab was he said it felt more like confinement then a place that he would want to be for recovery. Because of this he wanted to create his own rehab to help people but also give them more freedom then your typical rehab center, so that’s what he did.

My mom and dad started a rehab in the Dominican Republic to help people with addiction while also showing them paradise. I’ve seen many different characters come to our rehab center and it made me realized that addiction isn’t just something that affects specific people, but that it affects everyone. I’ve seen people in denial about their addiction and I believe that people shouldn’t be.

Growing up around my father’s addiction made me realize that addiction isn’t exclusive to certain people, it can affect anyone. Despite the negative stigma attached to it, I’ve seen firsthand that recovery is possible. My father’s journey, from struggling with prescription painkillers to successfully overcoming his addiction and founding a rehab center in the Dominican Republic, highlights the importance of addressing addiction with understanding and support. His story serves as a reminder that with the right approach, recovery is achievable, and everyone deserves a chance to heal.”

I love that my boy wrote this for a high school project, proud of him.

Call or message 1-829-932-1023

for assistance or info about Always Hope Rehab

12 Years Clean

January 27, 2012 at the age of 34 was the first full day at my second Rehab. Since high school I always enjoyed getting high, alcohol and weed at first but then also the occasional dabbling in harder drugs as I entered university. It seemed the norm at that age but I usually did everything to the extreme and my competitive nature contributed to me using harder and doing dumb stuff to injure myself while high or drunk. 

After many years of enjoying getting high I thought I hit the jackpot when my doctor prescribed me OxyContin to deal with migraine headaches and back pain. I say jackpot since it took away the pain and got me high, I thought this was perfect. It was great until my tolerance kept increasing, and then after 4 years of not abusing the opiates I fell and separated some ribs and the OxyContin abuse started. I used up a month’s prescription in days and started buying them off the street. (NOT my doctors fault as for 3 years he tried most alternative therapy and non narcotic meds, but nothing worked.)

Even though I was taking so many pills daily my mind was telling me that it’s ok cause I’m taking meds that are prescribed and my doctor should really just increase my dosage so I’m not in pain or buying them illegally. In hindsight I see how ridiculous that is but at the time that was my logic. After a few years of abusing the OxyContin family noticed and I was confronted, I tried to deny and talk my way out but deep down I knew I needed help. I decided to go to rehab to get my family off my back and to learn how to “use properly” I never intended to fully quit. I was warned to abstain from all mind altering substances but I of course needed to test that theory because I thought I was smarter than all these “addicts and alcoholics”

My controlled using lasted 2 weeks and started the day I left my first rehab. 6 months later I found another rehab that offered the shortest length of stay (3 weeks) and the reason I went to that rehab was I was dying physically and mentally and needed to quit for my sanity and health. I also had learned from the previous rehab and my “controlled using” that I had to fully abstain or I would die and lose my wife and 2 boys. 

So today as I sit having coffee by the pool in the Dominican Republic I’m grateful to have my health and my family still in my life. Recovery is possible.  Call me at 1-829-932-0123 for more info or assistance.

Rehab, 12 Step Meetings, Religion, or Other?

Embarking on the journey to recovery from substance abuse is a deeply personal and unique experience. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and individuals often find success through various avenues. I will explore the different pathways to recovery, including rehab programs, religious approaches, and peer support groups such as 12 step programs. The key to success often lies in a personalized combination of these resources, coupled with a strong social support system. 

Personally I went to rehab twice to get the assistance I needed. First time was to get family off my back and second time because I was “sick and tired of being sick and tired”. The second time I was also more accountable by attending weekly 12 step meetings. Grateful for my past as I near another yearly milestone and thought I’d reflect on different options for successful recovery. 

Call or message me at 1-829-932-0123 for more info.

1. Rehabilitation Programs:

Rehab programs, whether inpatient or outpatient, play a crucial role in helping individuals break free from the cycle of addiction. These programs often offer a structured environment where individuals can receive professional guidance, counseling, and medical support. Inpatient rehab provides intensive, around-the-clock care, while outpatient programs allow individuals to receive treatment while maintaining their daily routines. The immersive nature of inpatient rehab helps many people kick start their recovery journey and was instrumental in helping me recover. 

2. Religious Approaches:

For some individuals, religion serves as a powerful anchor in their recovery process. Religious communities often offer support and a sense of belonging, providing individuals with a framework for moral and spiritual guidance. Religious practices, such as prayer and meditation, can be integral components of a holistic recovery plan. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of religious approaches varies from person to person based on individual beliefs and preferences. 

3. Peer Support Groups:

Peer support groups, such as 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provide individuals with a community of like-minded individuals who understand the challenges of addiction. These groups follow a structured approach that includes steps toward recovery, accountability, and sponsorship. The power of shared experiences and mutual support within these groups can be a driving force in sustaining recovery over the long term. I still get a lot of support by attending 12 step meetings when I can. 

Call or message me at 1-829-932-0123 for more info.

Regardless of the chosen path, maintaining a social connection with supportive family and friends is crucial. A strong support system provides encouragement, understanding, and a sense of accountability. Whether it’s attending family therapy sessions, involving loved ones in the recovery process, or going to 12 step meetings, the power of social connections cannot be overstated.

In the realm of addiction recovery, diversity is strength. There is no universal answer to the question of which pathway is the “right” one, as each individual’s journey is unique. By embracing a combination of rehabilitation, religious practices, outpatient support, and peer engagement, coupled with the unwavering support of friends and family, individuals can pave their way to a successful and sustainable recovery. The key lies in recognizing that recovery is a dynamic process, and the chosen pathway should be tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of the individual seeking a new, healthier chapter in life.

Holidays: Recovery and Relapse

December is often the season of joy and celebration, yet for those on the path of recovery from addiction, the holiday season can pose unique challenges. As we approach Christmas, a time traditionally associated with parties and alcohol, the journey of recovery can be a slippery slope. Let us dig into the complexities of navigating recovery and the potential pitfalls of relapse during this festive time.

Call or message 1-829-932-0123 for assistance.

**The Challenge of Temptations:**

The Yuletide season brings with it a myriad of temptations – from spirited gatherings to the presence of alcohol at every turn. For those in recovery, maintaining sobriety amidst the festive cheer can be similar to traversing a minefield. Old habits may resurface, testing one’s resilience.

**Navigating Social Pressures:**

The holiday season is often marked by social obligations, where the pressure to partake can be overwhelming. Friends and family, unaware of the delicate nature of the recovery process, may inadvertently contribute to the struggle. It becomes crucial to communicate boundaries and seek support during these challenging moments.

**Embracing Support Systems:**

Recovery is not a solitary journey but a collective effort. The holiday season emphasizes the importance of leaning on support networks – be it through 12-step programs, therapy, or the understanding embrace of loved ones. Acknowledging vulnerability and seeking help can be a powerful deterrent against the chance of relapse.

**Mindful Celebrations:**

As one treads the path of recovery, approaching celebrations with mindfulness becomes paramount. Opting for sober gatherings, engaging in activities that bring genuine joy, and steering clear of environments that may trigger relapse are strategic choices during the festive season.

**Coping Strategies for Resilience:**

Developing coping strategies is an essential aspect of maintaining recovery. Whether through meditation, journaling, or engaging in fulfilling activities, individuals can fortify themselves against the allure of substances. The holidays, though challenging, can also be an opportunity for self-discovery and growth.

**Reflection and Renewal:**

The Christmas season, with its emphasis on reflection and renewal, provides a fitting backdrop for those in recovery. It’s a time to assess progress, acknowledge victories, and chart a course for the future. While relapse may be a stumbling block, it need not define the entirety of one’s journey.

Call or message 1-829-932-0123 for info about rehab or recovery.

In conclusion, the holiday season, which may contain potential pitfalls, also offers a chance for profound transformation. Navigating recovery during Christmas requires resilience, self-awareness, and a commitment to embracing the true spirit of the season. Together, let us walk this path, supporting each other through the trials and triumphs, as we strive for lasting recovery during the festive season and beyond.

The Magic of Always Hope

A testimonial from a previous guest:

“Roger Palsma and his family’s Always Hope center is special in too many ways to mention. Besides being in a lovely, comfortable location with a private bedroom and bath, you are made to feel ‘at home.’”

This is not what you would expect. I envisioned sterile walls, militaristic rules and pounded with the lengthy doctrines of AA.  Instead the process is laid back and loving—while keeping it very real why you are there.

Very customized and personalized; you can work as hard as you want or not at all. It’s up to you.

But the magic I think, is Roger’s unique brand of dry humor and empathy. Having clearly been a former abuser of most every recreational drug, he speaks from first-hand experience. You never feel ashamed to speak up about anything.

For those of you turned off by the dogma of AA or NA, this center has a unique way of filtering through that stuff and focusing on the useful messages within.

In short. They demystify the process of getting sober into digestible pieces.

Nothing short of brilliant.”

Call or message 1-829-932-0123 to contact Roger with Always Hope

Rebirth at Always Hope

Today, I celebrate six months without a drop of alcohol—a milestone I once thought was beyond my reach. For over 30 years, alcohol shadowed my every step, accompanying me in every celebration and every hardship. Despite my successes in business and finance, there was an ever-looming shadow: my reliance on alcohol. It reached a point where I felt I had hit rock bottom, prompting me to seek help.

While I reached out to several places, many didn’t offer the genuine support and understanding I was yearning for. Everything changed when I spoke to Roger. In him, I found someone who truly listened, understood my concerns, and most importantly, didn’t offer empty promises. I decided to embark on this journey to recovery, and upon arriving at this home, I felt embraced, as if I had found a family. It wasn’t a traditional setting but a home where you’ll feel at ease, have space, and above all, find peace.

Throughout my stay, each day marked a step towards healing, with unwavering support from the team, Kendal the consulerand earnest conversations with Roger. I’m learning to enjoy more time in the present, cherishing moments with my kids, and having better control over myself. Every day, I wake up without the regret of the day before. Is it easy? Not always. I miss the times of “fun” and parties. However, now I can attend a party, enjoy it, and not be burdened with conflicting thoughts the next day.

If you’re struggling with this, I recommend taking action, seeking help, making a decision, and just taking that step forward. My only regret is not taking action sooner. If you’re willing to make a change, reach out to Always Hope and give yourself a chance to live again.

Thanks, Roger and your family! You always have a friend here! 

Call or Message 1-829-932-0123 today for assistance.

Addict in Denial, A Testimonial

Addict in denial is a long testimonial. I never change any words and post exactly what was given to me. Due to the length, and to protect anonymity I have deleted some words, sentences and paragraphs.

Call 1-829-932-0123 for more info

I never imagined I’d end up in any type of rehab program. Being a musician for more than half of my life, I’ve always been surrounded and tempted by every drug imaginable and endless free drinks. What I was not aware of was all of the childhood trauma and PTSD , that was also part of who I was. I came to the Dominican Republic for the first time with my fiancé on April 20th for our engagement trip, and she left me there because I had gotten a middle ear infection from swimming in the ocean and the doctors told me I could not fly for 5 to 7 days. After she flew home, things in my life went horribly south.


Not only was there previous problems in my relationship with my fiancé and family back in the states, but a lifetime of fighting my own demons internally. So after a couple days of severe, “fear and loathing” in the Dominican all by myself. My fiancé decided that she needed to find a rehab program that I would actually participate in. Which brings me to Always Hope.


I had already agreed to her and my family that maybe I needed to get some help or therapy and come to terms with my addiction which I was in complete denial of. So she said she found this place and that it was completely paid for if I go for the entire month. After getting into a bar fight at the dance club I got in a cab and 7 1/2 hours later, I arrived in Sosúa. Knowing nothing about Always Hope or who these people were much less the therapist that I was going to be assigned to… I went.

I arrived on May 1 in the middle of a rainstorm, about seven or 8 o’clock in the evening. Not only was the staff, polite and welcoming. I merely felt the sense of being in someone’s home, not in any type of medical facility.
After an arduous, seven hour grueling ride through the mountains and winding roads, I was so exhausted that I made some food and went directly to my own private room, turn on the air-conditioning and lay down for the night.

The next morning I woke to Roger smoking cigarette, drinking coffee on the back patio by the pool. He handed me a binder with some paper and a pen, and that started my journey. Just like any addict in denial I thought there was no way I was gonna make it a week much less a month here and I immediately contacted my fiancé to tell her she needed to get me a plane ticket and get me the hell out of here. Not because Roger, his wife or son we’re in anyway mean or rude. It was because I just felt so out of place.


How could I be here? 45 years old just got engaged and here I am checking into a rehab program for a month. Roger handed me the AA 12 step book as well as the NA book. And I remember him saying you’ll get out of this what you put into it. And he gave me his backstory of 11 years of sobriety from much harsher drugs and much worse scenarios that I had ever imagined. I think that was the catalyst that changed my mind and heart about this program.

Over the course of the next few days upon meeting my therapist, Kendall and really immersing myself 110% with all of the literature, worksheets, and both AA and NA meetings, I began to feel the healing and the legitimacy of this program of recovery. And even though I was at most times, very stubborn and apprehensive to do any of the worksheets, I always told Roger my answer is “YES”.

What I got from going to three AA meetings and one NA meeting a week was beyond what I could ever have hoped for. The “community” as they call it of people from all over the world and backgrounds became my new group of friends and family almost immediately. Their stories of trials and tribulations and battles of their own addiction of all kinds, truly inspired and motivated me to stay the course.

I was not supposed to leave the premises unless with Roger to go to the beach, grocery store, dinner or meetings. At times, I felt trapped because I would continuously ask after my one hour therapy session every morning from 9 to 10, to go to the beach or see the town. Roger would say let’s talk about it tomorrow. What I didn’t realize until my third week was that he had done this program with so many different clients over the years, and he had learned from his mistakes and the mistakes of those that did not abide by the program and the 12 steps. So I always knew he had my best intentions at heart, and he was only difficult because he actually cared about me.

What I got from that was a lifetime of tools that I could apply for not only myself, but any individual I come across for the rest of my life who is suffering from an addiction. I am truly grateful for those that got me here for the friends that supported me through it and for the entire community here in Sosua, especially Roger, Shauna, and Pierce for welcoming me into their home and trusting me.

I’ve never left a review of any type on any social media or Internet platform until now. And I only did this, because I believe if there’s someone out there or someone that you know that could benefit from reading this testimonial, and it could inspire them to even go to an AA meeting or seek help, then I believe it was worth every single moment, and word I wrote. If I was able to give Always Hope six stars, I would do that because Roger and his team down here and community truly know how to help individuals just like themselves overcome even the deepest, darkest demons.

Call or message 1-829-932-0123 for info or assistance

Ego and Pride (Testimonial)

I ask all guests if they would submit a review or testimonial to help others have a better understanding of what it’s like at Always Hope. I enjoy when they give me it before leaving but I love it more when it comes months or years after they have left. I find it means they are still doing good and that we are still in weekly contact. Below is a testimonial I just received from a guest that was with us within the last year. I copy and paste and don’t change or fix grammar or spelling

“I would like to add a testimonial, to help those of you who are looking for help restoring balance to your life.

As an older professional, I felt trapped by discreetness. My pride or ego could not handle other people potentially knowing. I kept trying to deal with my addictions by myself, and I kept failing. My wife helped me find this program which is different from an institutional program. I was ready for a change. I didn’t know what to expect, but this program was perfect for me. I realized that the journey to be able to reflect on my disease or behaviour is personal. The opportunity that is created by Always Hope was safe caring and supportive of all the challenges that I faced. It truly can only come from people that have faced the same challenges.

For those of you that know the institutional road is not for you. Please consider this opportunity. Saying that you must be ready to change. Only you can make that decision, this program is too help give you the tools and resources for success.”

If you or a loved one is looking for a place to heal and recover from your addiction call or message Always Hope anytime. Don’t let your pride or ego stand in the way of getting the help you want or need.

1-829-932-0123

Lessons Learned From Past Guests

I have learned so much from all the past guests that have stayed at Always Hope. As I was reflecting on the lessons and tips they taught me I thought I’d take the time to write a “thank you” blog. I’m sure after I post this and reread it I’ll remember more but for now I will just reflect on some of the things I learned or was inspired to do. 

First, reading books and novels. I used to read a lot growing up but when I started farming my reading became limited to informational magazines and newspapers. We had a guest a few years ago that read a novel every 1-2 days on top off all the recovery literature. This inspired me to start reading novels and some non-fiction books again. Although I can’t read at the pace this guest could, I learned that I could read 2-4 books a month and have continued that for the past 5 years. 

Second, different exercises.  I dislike “working out” or running but love playing sports like hockey and basketball. I like to be in shape but the occasional sports isn’t quite enough to keep me as fit as I’d like. A recent guest inspired me to try running again after I saw them religiously run in the mornings. Not sure if I enjoy it much yet but I do love the feeling of sweating and working my body hard first thing in the mornings. Hopefully I continue but regardless I learned I can do it and it’s worth the feeling of accomplishment when I finish. 

Third, healthier food and cooking different recipes. Having guests that come from all corners of North America, the Caribbean and other parts of the world has taught me different foods I would never have encountered. The different heritages and backgrounds of our guests has shown me many healthy recipes and food choices that I never would have tried. I have learned to be more open to taste and try different fruits, vegetables and dishes that I never would have experienced if I never met these people. 

Fourth, is geography and culture. Every guest is unique and grew up in a location I likely haven’t travelled to. During the course of their stay I’m blessed to have them share personal experiences and info on their lives. I have learned so much about small towns, big cities, and also the countries they live in and have travelled to. Much of this info I couldn’t obtain through travel shows or guides and it has taught me a lot about the world. 

Lastly, I have learned that each guest is super intelligent and often “too smart for their own good”. This may have contributed to them ending up in rehab to deal with their addiction issues, but it also will help them succeed in recovering. Past guests have shown me how to be more emphatic, vulnerable, caring and how to set boundaries. I have learned tech advice and business tips. I have gained some friends for life and am so grateful to have met all that have come to Always Hope. 

A huge thanks to all that have taught me so much. And if you or a loved on is struggling with an addiction call anytime. Even every phone call teaches and helps me, it reminds me that the struggle is real. And I never want to put myself or my loved ones through the agony of dealing with my addiction issues again. 

Call 1-829-932-0123 today if you want assistance. 

3 Signs You Have An Addiction Issue

When I was using there were many signs of to myself and loved ones that I was out of control and life was becoming unmanageable. For the most part I thought I was using my “meds” cause I needed them to survive, although I loved the high it gave me and helped manage my pain. Until I got sick and tired of being a slave to my OxyContin I assumed I would just be on them for the rest of my life. I didn’t believe I could go without them even though I knew that taking 5-10 times the dose my doctor prescribed was a red flag. I’m glad my family and doctor finally noticed and were brave enough to confront me about my addiction. I was of course pissed off initially at then and everything but deep down I needed help and glad they noticed the signs.

Below are just 3 common signs of addiction.

Using is Causing Work or Relationship Problems

While I was using I was so preoccupied with figuring out how when to get more and how to hide my problem. This made me emotionally, mentally and physically unavailable for family and friends. It also was starting to impact the quality of my work. Although the bills were always paid, the work was completed and I was physically around for my family I wasn’t 100% there.

I have met many highly successful and “functional” addicts and alcoholics. Everyone has a different bottom or turning point where they decide enough is enough. Not every person needs to lose their job, house and family before they decide that they have a substance abuse problem. It’s progressive and sometimes slowly gets worse unless actions are taken. Therapy, 12 step meetings, rehab are all options to help before ending up in jails, institutions or death. Help is available in many forms.

We can help by either chatting on the phone or pointing you in the right direction to receive the assistance that you want or like.

Call or message me at 1-829-932-0123 to talk with me today.

Trying to “Control or Manage” Consumption

It isn’t always about how much or how often you drink or use but more likely that you find you can’t live without it. Binge drinkers or weekend warriors often assume because they don’t consume on a daily basis that it’s not a problem. But if they had to picture going without their substance of choice for a month or more they would be resistant.

Many like myself felt we could control or limit or using. For an addict or alcoholic this is just an excuse or we are fooling ourselves. Many people have mentioned (and me also) that many days, weeks and months went by where every night I thought that tomorrow I won’t use. That rarely or never happened once the craving and obsession entered the mind.

Until I came to the conclusion that one is too many and a thousand is never enough I didn’t and couldn’t recover. For me and many abstinence was the only way.

Health is Affected

Lastly I personally could tell my health was being adversely affected and I know family noticed it as well. I was extremely under weight and ill often, also every scrape or cut seemed to get infected as my immune system was compromised by my using.

Many people I’ve met through Always Hope and my stints in rehab felt their health was failing. Some noticed the signs on their own and others were made aware by their doctors. Some of the health issues like failing liver or memory loss were so extreme that hospitalization was likely the next step.

Thankfully the body can often heal the damage before it’s permanent by abstaining from the abused substances. I just hope anyone suffering through the grips of active addiction seek help before it’s too late.