Category Archives: Always Hope

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.

Rehab Cost and Benefits

Rehab cost is often one of the first questions asked when someone is inquiring about addiction help. I realize that $ is an important factor but there is much more to consider when deciding where to go for help such as location, individual attention, the program offered and availability.

First in reference to the cost of rehab I’ll try and put it into perspective. For example a 2 week all inclusive resort can likely cost $3000-$5000 or more so it’s a similar price but rehab will include professional counseling instead of “all you can drink”. Rehab is also a step in the right direction for recovery by helping the individual deal with underlying issues vs hoping that a 2 week break from reality might be the cure.

It is also noticeable as the years pass that an investment in your health is cheaper than most funerals. Even though I’m only mid 40’s it seems that a handful of classmates and acquaintances are dying from overdoses and suicides every year now. The financial cost of death is small in comparison to the emotional cost to friends and families.

Location, individual attention and the type of program offered can differ greatly between all rehabs. During this past month I was blessed to visit a rehab that held open meetings. It was unfortunate to see that the facility was almost full capacity (25-30 people) but it was also great to see that those individuals were seeking help. It was sad to see that some of them weren’t getting the 1-1 counseling they deserved, but it was nice to see the social connections they were making which would help keep  them from isolation in the future.

There is no “one size fits all” rehab and so Always Hope was designed to be a different option. We offer 1-1 counseling for an hour 5 days a week, the program is tailored to the individual and the cost is similar or less than most private rehabs. We allow you to determine the length of stay, any timeframe over 2 weeks is feasible. If you or a loved one is looking for a different option for addiction help we may be able to help.

Call or message 1-829-932-0123 and we will help you start on your road to recovery.

Paradise found: a rehab like no other (testimonial)

Paradise found: I came to Always Hope at a low point in my life.  Five days into my two week stay at my house in Cabarete, having escaped the northeast winter as I do every year, I was still living a life which revolved around anticipating, using and recovering from a daily intake of alcohol, much as I had done for the past 25 years or so in the states.  I was in the throes of my addiction,  my life closing in around alcohol, and wanting to stop all the time.  I thought about going to AA, going into rehab, etc., but I did not, could not take the first step.  It was the stage 4 cancer diagnosis I received at the end of 2021 which was my “rock bottom” in which I realized I may very well die, but I will definitely die, sooner rather than later, if I don’t stop NOW!  But here I was in the DR, still doing the same old thing.

 Finally,  one late night I googled “rehab in Cabarete” and came upon “Always Hope”.  I immediately called the next day and was answered by a human ,  Roger, the owner.   He answered my questions about his program, in a measured , soft spoken manner, and did not say too much, though I noted a calm voice, which I found reassuring.  I detected a heart.  Though there was no hard sell here, almost a benign indifference.  “Take it or leave it” he seemed to say.   He told me about local AA meetings which he offered to meet me at.  But I knew I probably wouldn’t get there on my own, and I needed help to get away from the alcohol. So without any real hesitation or investigation, and with no real options (there was no Dr. Bob to lock me in a room), I requested that he take me in.  He came the next day to pick me up.


The location is a well appointed, modest sized villa with a large terraced pool in a luxury gated community between Sosua and Cabarete.  I was immediately greeted by his friendly wife  Shauna and their son,  then shown to my private  room and bath in a separate area overlooking the pool terrace.  I quickly felt at home.  I soon realized I was the only “visitor”, something which at first made me a little nervous, but which I soon came to relish.    It was my first day of sobriety in 25 years and had no idea how it would go.  But I was in a low-key, quiet, relaxing place away from alcohol.  Even there are no locks on the door, I knew I was safe.  And off to my first meeting later that day.  Once I made that first break, I never looked back.

  
 The program at “Always Hope” is deceptively simple, almost minimalist in style.  The structure being daily 1 hour counseling sessions, two or three weekly AA meetings “off-campus, and study guides and literature provided by Roger to take yourself through a kind of self-guided 12 step program.   At first I felt like I needed more help and structure.  Being the only patron (the max is 3), I didn’t have any people to share experiences with and I worried a wouldn’t benefit from the interaction with other addicts in and out of various groups, as you would in a typical rehab.  But I soon realized the peace and introspection that came without having to deal with other people’s baggage, and the ability to really focus on my recovery, in such a pleasant, peaceful space.     ( I also soon realized that I would get plenty of feedback, sharing, and meeting other “people like me” in the AA meetings.).

Roger and his wife are always there, but almost in the background, present and available to talk to when needed, but otherwise pleasantly and “quietly” going about their lives.  Roger is quick to point out that he is not a counselor, but he was a good sounding board and shared his own experiences with addiction and recovery when appropriate.  I soon realized that Roger’s function for me was like that of a host, or tour guide;  helping me navigate through the process of my own new found sobriety in a congenial, unobtrusive, and relaxed  manner.  Going to my first AA  meetings with him was major a life changing experience.  Having avoided and been afraid to go for so many years, I needed that personal escort.  Once there, I quickly embraced and became emerged the AA program.  A life long skeptic and atheist, I  soon realized that AA would be essential to my long-term sobriety.    

Daily  runs and casual chats with Shauna, and movie night, focused on addiction movies, were some recreational highlights.   The unrestricted use of my phone and IPad was also much appreciated, as I did not want to place my life on hold.  In fact, for me, one of the chief therapeutic aspects of the program was the ability  to experience elements of my life and some of the daily stressors sober, within the confines of a safe place.  A kind of “exposure” therapy.    Shopping trips with the host, which entailed walking past the liquor aisles, also served in this regard, as well preparing my own meals, which I had normally done drunk.   Though food is provided and there is easy access to the kitchen, Shauna is happy to prepare meals upon request. This is not the place for 4 star resort service, however, and you are expected to basically clean up after yourself, do your own laundry, etc., which is all part of the process.   

Though most of my time was spent at the Villa, customized outings were arranged.    I was able to visit my house several times and tend to my chores, chickens and dog, without alcohol being part of the picture.  That was hugely therapeutic.  The most important thing was to be able to stop drinking, and begin my AA experience, and I could not have done it without  “Always Hope “.  I will forever be grateful.

5 Foods to help during recovery from addiction

Every substance that gets abused has its own set of specific effects on health. Many drugs or alchohol have similar impacts on a person’s ability to get all the nutrients necessary for health in recovery. Those who abuse any drug or alcohol are likely to experience vitamin and nutrient deficiency. 

Water is most important. While the body can withstand lack of food or malnutrition for weeks, if not longer. Dehydration quickly becomes a matter of life or death. Water makes up the majority of the human body and plays vital roles in nearly every function. Examples include helping brain function, improving mood, flushing out toxins and transferring nutrients through the body. 

Bananas contain a lot of tryptophan, this is an amino acid that’s not absorbed easily when using drugs and alcohol. Tryptophan is essential in the formation of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which promotes relaxation and proper sleep.

Yogurt is full of probiotics. Alcohol and opiates will disrupt your gastrointestinal system, which is why constipation and diarrhea are so common. Probiotics will help normalize the digestive tract.

Vegetables in general, contain a range of essential vitamins. During active addiction, improper nutrition absorption, along with a poor diet, causes malnutrition, but a vegetable-rich diet helps to restore proper nutrition levels. Vegetables will also help to improve skin and hair health, which commonly deteriorates during active addiction. Foods like papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, pineapple and oranges are all high in vitamin C and many other vitamins. Load up!

Garlic tastes good on almost everything. You can put it on pastas, in bread, on meats, on vegetables, and more. Not only does it taste great, but it is also good for your body. Garlic is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It will help to clean your liver, and it will help to restore some of the damage in your body. Plus, it supports your immune system, improves bone health, and helps to regulate your blood pressure. Garlic is like a wonder drug disguised as food.

These are just examples of some of common foods (and water) that are readily available and can help speed up the recovery process. At Always Hope the food on this list is usually organically grown, and fresher than you could find in most rehab locations. Most are available year round in tropical Dominican Republic. 

Addiction is a Pandemic

Addiction doesn’t take a break just because of a worldwide pandemic. The issues and consequences of active addiction haven’t decreased during this time but have unfortunately actually increased. Physical abuse to self and others, crime etc have been rising during this pandemic. This is because alcohol and drugs “seem” like a viable solution or alternative to dealing with this new reality (Coronavirus) but in an unhealthy way.

Always Hope has remained open and taken the necessary steps and precautions to help those wishing to deal with their addictions. Our unique rehab which only takes a maximum of 3 quests at a time helps maintain social distancing. This also gives you the opportunity heal in a safe environment. Plus decreased exposure to those possibly infected.

Air travel has also resumed to the Dominican Republic and measures are in place at airports to perform rapid tests upon arriving. We at Always Hope are and will continue to be available to help those struggling with addiction. Don’t suffer alone, there is no better time to begin your road to recovery.

Call or text 1-829-932-0123 today for more info. 

Honesty and addiction

Many of us began our addictions out of curiosity. But if we truly look at it with honesty we can find a way to recover. Some of us became involved because of a justifiable need for a prescription drug (such as my story) or as an act of deliberate rebellion. Many began this path when barely older than children. Whatever our motive for starting and our circumstances, we soon discovered that the addiction relieved more than just physical pain. Our drug of choice provided stimulation or numbed painful feelings or moods. It helped us avoid the problems we faced— or so we thought.

For a while, we felt free of fear, worry, loneliness, discouragement, regret, or boredom. But because life is full of the conditions that prompt these kinds of feelings, we resorted to our addictions more and more often. Still, most of us failed to recognize or admit that we had lost the ability to resist and abstain on our own. 

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

Rarely do people caught in addictive behaviours admit to being addicted, this is the very nature of the disease of addiction. It tells us we can handle it. To deny the seriousness of our condition and to avoid detection and the consequences of our choices, we tried to minimize or hide our behaviours. We did not realize that by deceiving others and ourselves, we slipped deeper into our addictions. As our powerlessness over addiction increased, many of us found fault with family, friends,  and even God. We plunge into greater and greater isolation, separating ourselves from others, especially from our loved ones.

When we, as addicts, resorted to lies and secrecy, hoping to excuse ourselves or blame others, we probably became isolated physically and emotionally from those who could not understand us. With each act of dishonesty, we fell deeper into the depths of our addiction, using more to hide our feelings. Then a time came when we were brought face to face with reality. We could no longer hide our addictions by telling one more lie or by saying, “It’s not that bad!”. We call this our bottom and it is a place where we feel totally alone, helpless, hopeless and useless.  A loved one, a close friend, a doctor, a judge, or someone else we trust may have told us the truth we could no longer deny. That addiction was destroying our lives.

Honesty with ourselves first

When we honestly looked at the past, we admitted that nothing we had tried on our own had worked. We acknowledged that the addiction had only gotten worse. We realized how much our addictions had damaged relationships and robbed us of any sense of self-worth. At this point, we took the first step toward freedom and recovery by finding courage to admit that we were not just dealing with a problem or a bad habit. We finally admitted the truth that our lives had become unmanageable and that we needed help to overcome our addictions. We found the courage to ask for help.  The amazing thing about this honest realization of defeat was that recovery finally began.

Honesty with ourselves is possibly the hardest thing. It may be because we can and do get away with lying to everyone else. But we always know our truths. 

Am I completely ready to be honest with myself to the very best of my ability!

Forgiveness and recovery

ALWAYS HOPE – FORGIVENESS

Forgiving is difficult, but perhaps we make it more difficult to forgive ourselves or others because we don’t understand the task. It is not necessarily to bring ourselves to the point that we can agree with the person whom we feel injured by, or to say that what we experienced was really alright, or that the other person did not make a mistake, or injure us in one way or another.

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

Forgiveness is really freeing ourselves of bitterness and resentment, and thus allowing ourselves to cultivate our best impulses as well as the best impulses in others.

Forgiveness is a “letting go”. It feels like a relief, a new serenity, and a sense of spiritual power that assists us to deal with emotions that poison our own personalities and relationships.

To “let go” doesn’t mean to stop caring but to realize what we are responsible for and what we are not responsible for. I am responsible for my own thoughts, actions, attitudes and feelings. I am not responsible for anyone else’s thoughts, actions, attitudes and feelings. It is only when I realize this truth that I am able to respond to others in a truthful and responsible manner.

I cannot learn for another, or control another and it doesn’t help me to blame another, or try to force another to change. My attempts to fix another’s problems will end in failure and it doesn’t help me to sit in judgment upon another, or to deny another’s reality. Destructive criticism, nagging, scolding or arguing never serves to heal my own or others’ hurts.

Letting Go

Letting go often means allowing others, as well as myself to learn from the natural consequences of actions. If I can accept reality, recognizing that being human means being imperfect, I may find that I can be supportive and encouraging to another person, even if I am unable to understand their actions. If I can see my own weakness and strength then Ican be more tolerant of others shortcomings and more appreciative of their strengths.

There is evil in this world. It is not possible to be aware of myself without recognizing the things that are destructive to human society, and that often affect me or someone I care about in a personal way. If I hold bitterness and resentment I contribute to this destructiveness, and have less, if any, positive influence on my world.

If I can let go of my past disappointments and hurts, and begin to live for my present moment I can, by invitation, have some influence, however small, on the future of the human race.

Forgiving is hard work and it requires us to search ourselves, honestly, but gently. It takes some time, but needn’t take a whole life time. It begins with a decision to make the effort, and it requires that we forgive ourselves first. Guilt-ridden people are not able to be very flexible or receptive to new ideas. Human growth requires an open mind, a flexible attitude and a belief in the ultimate possibility of goodness. This, in essence, is what love stands for. Love does not eliminate sadness from our lives, but neither does sadness interfere with joy. These two emotions can abide within us side by side, and still allow us to experience the fulfillment that comes with a purposeful life.

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

Forgiving is not forgetting, it is letting go of the hurt!

There is a line in “The Prayer of St. Francis” that goes like this “In order to be forgiven we must forgive”

Denial and Addiction

ALWAYS HOPE DENIAL

One of the most frustrating factors in dealing with alcoholism and/or addiction, as a relative, friend or professional, is it is almost always accompanied by a phenomenon known as “denial”.  In the long path the addict/alcoholic takes toward mental, physical and moral decline, usually the first thing to go is honesty. He or she simply lies about his drinking. These may be little lies at first, but they grow fast. How many times have you said something like  “I only had two … I haven’t drank (or drugged) in a week… I don’t drink as much as others do…” these are our ways to keep using, it give us permission!

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

As we, the addicts or alcoholics begin to use more drugs and drink more alcohol, and maybe more often, we begin to hide this fact from those around us. Depending upon our circumstances we may drink or use openly, but usually we will conceal the amount we use or drink, or not using or drinking around those who are close to us and lie when or if we are asked about it.

If someone tries to discuss his drinking with us, we simply refuse to talk about it, or dismiss it as not a real problem.  After all, we are adults now and we can drink or use if we want to, it’s nobody else’s business, what I do, it’s not hurting anyone but me and it’s not as bad as everyone thinks it is.

Clues to a Problem

But these simple acts of denial, lying about our drinking/using or refusing to discuss it, are clues to us that deep down inside we know that we have a problem.

If it’s not a problem, why do we lie about it to anyone? Are we protecting the ones we love, or work for, or associate with?  But as true addict/alcoholics, we know there is something wrong, we may not know it is a disease, but we feel that there is something different about us.  We cover up and deny our using or drinking out of our own feelings that there is something different or “wrong” about it or maybe there is something wrong with us. Somewhere inside we realize that our drinking or using means more to us than we are willing to admit.

Even though our sprees have gotten us into some real trouble, we still deny that it has anything to do with us.  Some say this is purely a defense mechanism. How is this possible? Usually by the time the disease has gotten to the crisis point, we have developed a support system of family and friends who unwittingly enable us to continue in our denial.

Because they love us, they act to protect us by covering for us, doing the work that we don’t get done, paying our bills that we don’t pay, rescuing us from scrapes with the law, and generally taking up the responsibilities that we have abandoned.

Protecting the Addict/Alcoholic

Have your loved ones ever lied for you such as “__________ can’t come in to work today, They have a virus” or “We’ve got to get him/her out of jail, he’ll lose his/her job! Then what will we do” or even “It was my fault, officer, I said some things I should not have said”

By doing these things, our loved ones are protecting the addict/alcoholic from the consequences of their own actions. We never have to feel the real pain caused by using and drinking. They rush in to put “pillows” under us so we doesn’t hurt ourselves in the fall. Consequently, we alcoholics and addicts never find out how much it hurts or feels to fall, and thereby never feel empowered to make it right either.

Although our drugging and/or drinking has placed us in a helpless and dependent position, we can continue to believe we are still independent because we have been rescued from our troubles by our well-meaning family, friends, co-workers, employers and sometimes clergymen and counsellors.

The roles these enablers play to “help” the alcoholic can be just as hurtful and harmful as the addicts/alcoholics behaviour, but that is a story for another day.

With these enabling devices in place, we addicts/alcoholics are free to continue in the progression of our disease, with our denial intact, until we perhaps reach the point of hitting our bottom, at which point even the most dedicated drug user or drinker must finally admit there is a problem. But there is no way for us to ever hit bottom when it’s always covered with pillows.

Are you willing to admit that that you are struggling and willing to receive help so you can stop hurting yourself and those around you? parents, children, friends, co-workers and anyone else who is affected by your destructive behaviours? If the answer is yes we at Always Hope can help. Call or message 1-829-932-0123 today.



Change the Way You Look at Things

Change is possible, and even though this guests first language isn’t English I didn’t change what he wrote and only fixed some spelling to make it more readable. So happy to have had a guest so willing to accept the process and embrace recovery, this is his testimony or testimonial.

“I found Always Hope when I was searching on the internet for a rehab nearby in the Caribbean because I needed to change and really needed a break to get out of everything because the liquor had taken complete control of me. I really didn’t have it under control anymore, and finally gave in to myself that I had a problem and I was an alcoholic. After hearing it from loved ones a couple of times that I drink too much and too often. It also got to me that I couldn’t lie anymore to the people that i loved and i couldn’t do that any more, because it was hurting me, brought me shame and made me very sad. But I also realized I was hurting my loved ones a lot, and I knew that if I continued drinking like that I would lose their trust in me, and making it difficult for them to love me and support me. If I continued and didn’t change like I was sure I was going to lose them and that I would end up in the gutter. 

So then I took my first step towards recovery, I gave in to the fact that I had a bad drinking problem and that I needed to change my life. I called Always Hope 1-829-932-0123 and they had a bed available. So I packed my suitcase and jumped on an airplane to the Dominican Republic and Always Hope. When I finally arrived there I received a warm welcome. In the beginning I still felt a bit emotional but being together with a happy family made me feel a lot better and the help from everyone around me was really good. Also the beautiful green nature around the property made me feel really good.

change is possible
Change and growth is possible

Very quickly after my arrival I didn’t miss the alcohol anymore, and every day I felt a better, bit by bit. Also the AA meetings which Roger took me helped me greatly, I felt and saw that there was people like me with the same troubles and struggles in their lives. At these meetings I could empty my heart without feeling ashamed of myself, because they understood. The counselor at Always Hope was also really great, in the beginning it was hard and emotional but the further I got in the program the better it got and the tears changed to smiles and joy.

At this moment the month at Always Hope has passed and I am ready to go back to my normal world, back to my loved ones and to my work. I have received a lot more knowledge than when I left home and with a very positive and happy future in front of me without the alcohol. I really recommend every alcoholic or addict to go to Always Hope so they can also find, just like me, the happiness and positive feeling in life. And always remember that you are never alone and that there is always hope

Recovery, My Loved Ones Perspective

In  the past seven plus years since Roger has been in recovery from his addiction to pain medication, I (his wife) have noticed such a positive change in his overall character and personality. This is my testimony or testimonial into how life has changed and this program works.

Call or message 1-829-932-0123 today to speak with Roger or I.

First of all, especially in the five years and since we have moved to the Dominican, he portrays a scene of calmness about him. Very laid back and so easy to talk too. Even participants who spend their time with us, will sit and talk with him about anything and since he can relate they seem to be comfortable around him.

He has a certain peace about himself, a quiet content spirit that is very welcoming. Almost like he has reorganized on the inside.

Another big change in our family life is that Roger is more available as a husband and a Father. Emotionally and physically he gives more of himself. Emotionally his patience has returned, willing to listen and communicate with us.

Physically he works out with our son and I, also playing basketball and street hockey with local friends as well as our boys. And doesn’t hesitate to help around the house a lot more to make my job easier. Our lifestyle change as well as his recovery has played a big part in that. 

recovery
recovery

The ambition I see in him is unbelievable, My husband got his spark back, everyday we grow closer as a couple as well as a family. Our relationship is the strongest it has ever been. The trust between us took years to replenish but I now I give him a huge amount of respect for what he has given us as a family, after coming back from the ultimate rock bottom.

They say the strongest men come from the darkest places and I believe to be true, that if you can turn your life around and rise, after being at the bottom you can conquer anything.

Sober Vacation in Paradise

Always Hope is pleased to announce that we have added “sober vacation” or “recovery vacation”. This is an opportunity to bridge the gap for those completing their stay at rehab or for those looking for a safe and sober place to relax, unwind and get grounded in their recovery.

This sober vacation option allows individuals to share their experience, strength and hope with those that may be currently going through the treatment program with us. It is designed to allow you to put into action what you have learned and decompress while helping others see that recovery is possible.

Private rooms, pool onsite, cool outings to the beach or hiking as well as the availability of 12 step meetings if desired. Stay for a week or choose to extend your stay if you desire. With a maximum of 3 guests at one time it will be a great experience to be sober in paradise.

Call or message 1-829-932-0123 today.

1 week stay is US$2,000

Recovery Boys: Video Review about Opiate Addiction

Recovery Boys: Video Review about Opiate Addiction

 
Recovery Boys on Netflix just came out on video and follows the journey of a few opiate addicts as they progress from active addiction to rehab and then life after. From my own personal experience with an addiction to opiates this movie provides a realistic view of the struggles to maintain sobriety and become a productive member of society.
They start by entering a non-traditional farm rehab in West Virginia called Jacobs Ladder. It takes some of the similar approaches such as counselling, 12 steps that many rehabs employ, but it’s facilities allows the Recovery Boys to engage in more real-world activities during their stay. I personally feel the non-institutional environment is advantageous to help transition people from active addiction into society and is the basis of our program at Always Hope. 

Call 1-829-932-0123 today to speak with Always Hope

Too many addiction related movies or documentaries imply that rehabs have to be hospital like and this is a scary proposition for people. I like that Recovery Boys shows raw emotion and struggles, it shows that not all rehabs have to feel like a jail or hospital and it portrays realistic outcomes. Unfortunately not everyone succeeds and recovers but whether it takes 1 attempt or 10+ attempts at rehab or recovery, I believe people make mistakes and need to be given a chance to change.

I’m grateful for the chances I was given to change and hope more people will take the help available to recover. If you or a loved one is interested in our program at Always Hope we can help.

 

Insight into Requesting Addiction Help

Insight into Requesting Addiction Help

As I’m the one who answers the phone and returns emails and texts I’ve gained some insight into what people are requesting in their time of need. I’ve been lucky to speak with hundreds if not thousands of people about addiction and thought it might be of interest to reflect on some of what I’ve learned and heard, so far in no particular order:

Call or Text 1-829-932-0123 today for more info

  1. Loved ones often notice the problem long before the individual who’s suffering directly with the addiction.  I believe over half of those that contact me for assistance are family or friends.
  2. Those struggling with substance-use disorders or alcoholism often have very little awareness of what options or support is available.
  3. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step groups attract huge stigma, I used to think the same. In my case it was ignorance to what the program entailed and I didn’t want that label attached to me. Once I learned more about AA I realized it was a blueprint for living life on life’s terms.
  4. People tend to reach out at a point of crisis.  Our phone rings when the consequences of someone’s drinking, using or behavior start to have a drastic impact on their life (loss of job, driving license, relationship breakdown, health issues and so forth).  How can ‘we’ help earlier?  What education is available around addiction? (We go talk to students and allow them to drive the conversation and ask anything in regards to addiction) How do we prevent so many from the slippery slope from socially acceptable drinking to problem drinking to dependency or cross addiction into other drugs?
  5. More employers are reaching out to us, which is really positive, they care about their employees and want the best for them.
  6. Some callers are skeptical that rehab can help, and many believe that it will feel like a jail or hospital. Although many rehabs are like that, we and others provide a different option for rehab. You are treated like a guest on a learning retreat. Plenty of 1-1 counselling and homework but also lots outings and moments spent enjoying the gifts of recovery. (Beach outings, hikes, sports or just sitting reading a good book or watching a movie)
  7. The most serious and determined to get help call my phone 1-829-932-0123 , those that are semi interested might text and those that may be only seeing what options are out there usually email.
  8. Addiction and alcoholism does not discriminate and we hear from all ages, nationalities and demographics.
  9. When I share bits of my struggles with addiction in the past they feel a huge relief. For many, knowing that I’ve lived through a similar hell and found a way to recover gives hope that recovery is possible.
  10.  Many are so thankful that someone would listen, too many help lines go unanswered. Wether it’s the middle of the night or if I’m in a meeting or family commitment I answer the call. Giving someone my time and letting them now there is hope also helps me remember when I was in their shoes and I never want to be in that position again.

These are just a few insights I’ve gathered after years of trying to help people recover from their addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling call now, we can help.

Call or text 1-829-932-0123 today

Society Craves 1000mg “NUMB ME NOW!” Pills

1000mg “NUMB ME NOW!” Pills

Wether it’s just an acute (not chronic) case of insomnia, sadness, grief, depression or pain; the answer seems to be to get some form of 100mg “NUMB ME NOW” pills. I know! That was me in the past and I had dappled in anything that would stop me from feeling. If it was prescribed by my doctor or something I bought off the street was of no concern to me, I just wanted something to numb me. It doesn’t specifically matter what the symptoms are and the substance of choice is irrelevant. It just seems socially acceptable now a days to either get drunk or pop some pills to try and get some reprieve from the stresses of life.

Call 1-829-932-0123 today for help.

NUMB ME NOWSociety is moving towards an attitude of instant gratification and “a pill for all ills”. It is becoming far more important for all to become educated on “what and why” we are putting into our bodies and what the long and short term consequences will be. It is inconsequential what the substance is; it could be alcohol, street drugs or whatever 1000mg “NUMB ME NOW” pills your doctor prescribed. Any of the above can lead you astray and down a slippery slope that may eventually lead you to become dependent and addicted.

I’m not trying to say that prescription meds aren’t effective, but more often than not there is a healthier way to deal with life’s ups and downs and also pain, depression, anxiety etc. There is no “one size fits all” remedy for dealing with these obstacles and challenges but there are many options. The multitude of self-help books and websites on the internet should provide some insight into possible healthy solutions. These can range from natural homeopathic treatments, exercise, meditation etc.

These healthy alternatives may not give immediate relief and will take time to get the desired results, but the long term effects won’t be detrimental to your mind and body. Please think twice before running to a doctor to get some 1000mg “NUMB ME NOW” pills.

Testimony: “I’m glad I didn’t go anywhere else!”

“I’m glad I didn’t go anywhere else!”

I came to Always Hope not knowing what to expect. At home some people I knew had worked with Jim (counselor) and knew Roger and Shauna (owners) and had the utmost praise for them. Now, after being here for a month I feel the same way, and this is my testimony or testimonial.

Jim is an amazing counselor with the knowledge and experience with alcoholism that I was looking for. I really could relate to him. His approach to working the 12 steps helped me to fully understand and incorporate them into my life. I look forward to our new found friendship an will be a little more at ease in my recovery knowing he is a phone call or text away.

Call Always Hope 1-829-932-0123 for more info

I can’t say enough about the generosity given by Roger and Shauna. To welcome me in to their lives was truly a blessing. I felt like part of the family and their 2 sons were always guaranteed to make me smile or laugh. Their story also helped me trust where I was because they too know the plight of an addict/alcoholic.

The facility is beautiful and is located in a safe gated community. I had a private room and if I felt I needed to be alone I knew I could. My anxieties about location and safety were quashed the moment I set foot here.

Always Hope made sure I wasn’t cooped up and constantly stuck with my thoughts. We all need an escape on occasion and especially when you are required to look at your horrible drunk self through a magnifying glass. We went to multiple beaches, visited a farm, walked every day and even went to the top of Mt. Isabelle de Torres. The outings were one of the highlights for me and helped me immensely with my recovery. They were a great opportunity for me to sit back and reflect on what was really at work here which was me getting healthy and sane.

The food was fantastic and I even gained some weight (I was very underweight when I arrived). And about once a week we were lucky enough to eat out and enjoy some local cuisine. Make sure you try all the different fresh fruits.

I came here anxious, tired and hopeless. My life had become so unmanageable that my only options were death or sobriety. I made the choice for sobriety because I knew I had so much to live for and wasn’t ready to continue my slow agonizing suicide. I had been drinking every day for at least 10 years or 3600 days and now I feel the best I have in almost a third of my life.

My experience has been fantastic. The 12 steps have really made me open my eyes to understand who I am and what is needed to recover and stay in recovery. I have learned a new level of respect for myself and others and I have learned a most gracious lesson in humility.

My higher power whom I call God is now someone I turn to every day for guidance. I had abandoned Him for so long but I knew he never abandoned me. Spirituality and surrendering to your higher power, whoever are whatever that may be, is in my opinion the foundation of the 12 step program.

I will be forever grateful to Jim, Roger, Shauna and their boys for helping me on my journey of sobriety. My disease is not curable but they have given me hope knowing that the tools supplied to me at Always Hope will make my disease of alcoholism manageable. I love the mantra “One day at a time” and will live my life accordingly.

Thank you Always Hope and anyone seeking a new better sober life please consider Always Hope. It changed my life and I’m glad I didn’t go anywhere else!

Sincerely a recovering alcoholic.

My Addiction: No Judgement

No Judgement

As someone who was 110% against the idea of rehab I cannot say enough good things about Always Hope! From the moment I met Roger and Shauna at the airport they made me feel like part of the family and no judgement was made.

Working through the 12 steps with Jim’s guidance not only taught me some valuable lessons and helped me heal, but was also done in a way that was “kinda fun”

My stay at Always Hope really was like a mini-vacation with therapy. It was nice to be surrounded by people who been where I have and in an environment where judgement doesn’t exist. This is my testimonial or testimony to the success of Always Hope.

Always Hope has changed my life and I’m lucky to also now be able to call Roger, Shauna and Jim my friends.

Call 1-829-932-0123 today to talk with Always Hope

Was My Addiction a Blessing or a Curse?

Was My Addiction a Blessing or a Curse?

I am a cocaine addict.
In fact, I am proud when I say that now. (in this new life of recovery).
Thanks to @Always-Hope.ca, I am slowly finding new ways of living life in sobriety, thanks to the tools I have now been given to handle situations that truly used to baffle me.
And the best part is – I am loving each and every moment of it!

To be eternally grateful for a life I could only imagine in my addiction; has turned out to become one the biggest gifts I have come to experience and this is my testimonial or testimony.

A new life in recovery.
With god.
I call it a miracle, or some may call it a blessing – whatever it is, it is magical. For somebody who never had faith in God, it seems almost surreal that a higher power of some sort could restore (people like myself) from a completely hopeless state of mind, body and soul. Especially when I resented the very thought of such an entity.

In fact, I hated god in the early days of my life.

Continue reading Was My Addiction a Blessing or a Curse?

Lost!! On the Edge of Relapse

Lost!! On the Edge of Relapse

My testimony or testimonial in regards to Always Hope. I was at the very tip of a very steep dark powerful, cunning & baffling slope, lost, full of fear, some lies, resentments and a relapse. I had know idea what to do, but knew i needed to get away. A handful of opportunities that i have worked hard towards right in front of me and if i didn’t deal with all that was within right away within no time I would have hit the bottom of that slope which could have easily been death.

It was truly a blessing when i was sitting in my vehicle with a very special person who has worked with me and my addiction issues for the last few years, I was crying confessing to my feelings and were I was and how scared I was to quickly loose all. i said I just need to find my self, redo my steps the way they are to be done and not my way lol…. She suggested I call Roger from Always Hope and explain my situation, where I am at and what I would like to accomplish within the program. He said they are able to help please come.

I left within 4 Days for Always Hope to work with Jim Maclean Head Counselor. Long story short it was more that I could have ever expected in all ways it was more than I could have ever hoped for. I found myself again. Ive regained my hope and faith in myself i haven’t truly had that in a very long time. I am sticking to the program and my exit plan, I haven’t been able to do that in 15 years, and it’s not a struggle not to use. For those who are still suffering/struggling with addiction or even just lost or need to get back to the basics please do not hesitate call Roger, talk to Jim and go !!! It could save your life !!! It sure has mine !!

Call 1-829-932-0123 today!

Tough Love: Enabling Parents of Addicts/Alcoholics

Tough Love: Enabling Parents of Addicts/Alcoholics

From my perspective of once being in the position of trying to manipulate, making excuses or lie to prolong getting the help I knew I needed. To also witnessing this happening when adult children lie, manipulate and make every excuse as to why they are now ”cured” and don’t need any help or counselling. It breaks my heart seeing these “kids” convince their parents to rescue them again or “bail” them out of rehab. Tough love is sometimes neccesary. Many of these parents have spent a lot of emotional and financial effort to give their child a chance at getting professional help and are trying to save their children’s lives.

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is your child acting like they are entitled to things or your money, or demanding things?
  2. Do you feel like you are living from crisis to crisis with your child?
  3. Are you sacrificing too much while your child takes no responsibility?

Continue reading Tough Love: Enabling Parents of Addicts/Alcoholics

Suboxone Withdrawals and Detox made easy

Suboxone Withdrawals and Detox

were Easier than Expected

I am a heroin addict, now addicted to suboxone. I had been taking suboxone for two years when I tried to quit for good. I lasted a week then relapsed. I knew I needed help and could not do this by myself. I searched around for rehabs. I had no Insurance and not a whole lot of money, at least not as much money as rehabs in the states wanted. That is my testimonial or testimony about when I found Always Hope.

I came here excited but scared, excited to see a new country I have never been to but scared I was going to have to kick the suboxone again. I saw the doctor upon arrival and we set up a plan for my inevitable detox. To my surprise it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I got settled in pretty quick I had my own room and started counseling with Jim the next day. Roger took me to play basketball and get some exercise that night followed up with some coconut water, and I felt pretty good. I had to fight through a couple days of not feeling my best but I must say, I felt way better this time then I did alone at my house.

I got into a routine, waking up early, working out, playing basketball, going to the beach, seeing things and places I have never seen in my life. A week had past and I really felt great. This was turing more into a caribbean vacation. I was still doing my counseling during the day but I was seeing beautiful beaches, and amazing waterfalls it was a real treat. These days out really made me forget about everything and just enjoy life. I am very grateful I was able to come here, get clean, and leave with a solid plan for my future. Not to mention a great tan!

Thanks Roger, Shauna and Jim.

Call or text 1-829-932-0123 to see how Always Hope can help you.

Skeptical and Hesitant but Eventually Grateful

Skeptical and Hesitant but Eventually Grateful

the-scepticalIf you asked me 3 months ago what my thoughts were on rehab, I would have most likely gone on a diatribe about all the actors and other “famous” folks who check themselves in to a luxury treatment facility like most people check in to a hotel on vacation. No more benefit comes out of this than some fresh press for their careers. This is my testimonial or testimony about Always Hope.

I was however at, what I drunkenly conceived to be, the bottom. As a long-time ex-pat living in the Dominican Republic (originally from New Jersey), my options were substantially limited in terms of help. Until today, I am still not one hundred percent sure about how I came into the care of the team at Always Hope, but I am very grateful that it happened.

I was skeptical and hesitant at first, only because of my more than eleven years’ experience with various clinical facilities in the DR, but Always Hope turned out to be more like a home away from home. The team, led by counselor Jim MacLean, delivers a treatment model founded on friendship, professionalism and dedication to the mission of helping their clients recover. The real-life experiences of the team at Always Hope, their personal drive to help addicts recover and the amazing surroundings all come together to create an atmosphere of success and, as the name implies, hope.

Presently, I am one week from living three months in sobriety and I reflect daily on my time at Always Hope. I consider all of the events that transpired to deliver me to their care as well as my physical, mental and spiritual experiences there. With these elements in mind daily, I am able to go forward leaving behind a horrible addiction that had controlled my life for thirty years.

Thank you Always Hope!

Call or text 1-829-932-0123 now

to see how we can help you or a loved one.

Targeting my Emotions, Not just the 12 Steps

Targeting my Emotions, Not just the 12 Steps

At first just like many people, I was very scared to commit to recovery so far away from my home in Vancouver to the Dominican Republic. This is my testimonial or testimony in regards to Always Hope. I have not left my home for more then a week in my life, and it was a very tough decision. Being 23, I am used to being around my family and girlfriend. I also have never quit drugs in my 9 years of using, never been to a long term treatment centre, gone to meetings or even seen a councillor.

After a lot of thought, my mind was made up, I decided to jump in to my recovery with both feet. Choosing to be away from home was hard, but the positives outweighed the negatives greatly. Firstly, I would not have access to the narcotics I was used to using. Secondly, I would be able to get away from my usual habitat and all the people and problems that came with it. This allowed me to have a clear mind through out this critical month. Although I have to go back home now, I am confident I have learned the skills to deal with my emotions and the scenarios I will inevitably have to face.

Continue reading Targeting my Emotions, Not just the 12 Steps

How Addiction took my Life on a Detour

How Addiction took my Life on a Detour

Growing up on a Central Alberta dairy farm I never imagined that my life would take the detour that it did and that I would end up living on a beautiful Caribbean island. This is my my journey and testimonial or testimony from cold and snowy Canada to the Dominican Republic; from dairy farmer to starting an addiction treatment facility in another country.

Recovery from addiction is possible
Recovery is possible

I had a normal childhood, Mom and Dad were dairy farmers and always around. My brother and 2 sisters were my closest friends growing up as we didn’t have neighbours close enough to play with. School, sports and anything I set my mind to were easily accomplished, it felt like the sky was the limit. In 2000 at the age of 22 and after a couple years of post-secondary education in the field of business I decided to marry my high school sweet heart and come home to the family dairy farm.

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It was shortly after coming home to farm that some injuries I had back when I was partying during high school flared up and became chronic back pain and headaches. I had fallen in a bar when I was drunk and smashed half of my teeth, I had fallen of a small cliff when some friends and I were hiking in the mountains. What I thought were just normal injuries at that age due to drinking and smoking pot, turned out to become a major pain when I was just starting to be an “adult”. And that is when the beginning of my detour took place although I didn’t know it at the time.

Continue reading How Addiction took my Life on a Detour

Small Rehab: Size Does Matter

Small Rehab for Drug and Alcohol Addicition

At Always Hope we feel that limiting our size to only 5 guests at a time comes with great benefits. Having a small rehab allows us to offer a welcoming environment and more relaxed atmosphere. It prevents the institutional feel of the larger clinical rehabs.

small rehab and addiction Our goal by keeping our facility a small rehab is to offer the individual support and attention that all addicts deserve and require. This way we can provide a comfortable learning atmosphere where individuals aren’t overwhelmed by groups of large people. This also allows guests to truly connect with us and to engage in more tailored therapy to their specific needs. In larger groups and rehabs you may be one of 25-40 people listening to a speaker, which tends to make you feel like an audience member rather than being in a small group which usually leads to interactive discussions. With the smaller groups there is more time to express your opinions, thoughts and feelings and to get feedback.

Call 1-829-932-0123 today to find out more about Always Hope

Individualized program – A small rehab can create a program around the input, circumstances and needs of the patient. This means that the traditional one-size-fits-all program approach for each guest goes out the window.

Smaller group sizes – The # of guests enrolled at any given time at Always Hope is much smaller and manageable. This not only makes the setting more intimate, allowing guests to get to know everyone much faster but helps to increase comfort levels. This also means that each guest receives the treatment and focus they need to make a full recovery.

Personalized attention – This offers a safe zone, a place where our guests can unwind without associating with others who actively abuse illicit substances. Each patient receives thorough, personal attention in order to treat his or her individual problems. Also the many hours of daily 1-1 counselling is highly beneficial.

A sense of connection – It is much easier to connect with other clients and staff in a small, private addiction treatment program. Even though this is not necessary, it will ensure that our guests don’t feel alone with his or her problems. Feeling connected and feeling that you have someone to talk to or lean on when it becomes difficult is often beneficial, especially during those stressful early days of sobriety.

No waitlists – Many of the larger public rehab centres have a long waitlist before a patient can enrol. Time is usually of the essence and it is important to move quickly. We at Always Hope have a very small or no waitlist for admission, and very minimal requirements.

Are there Drawbacks? Of course, there is no one particular recovery option that has all benefits with no downsides. There are two minor drawbacks to opting for a private small rehab:

Cost – Private rehabs may be unaffordable for some people. We at Always Hope understand this and try to be as flexible as possible with cost and length of stay. Due to the fact we are located in the Dominican Republic we can keep the cost down because of lower expenses and we pass the savings on to our guests.

Location – This may be a drawback for some and a benefit for others. While some people prefer to go rehab close to home to hopefully have the close support of friends and family, being close to home also allows for an easy escape if commitment issues come up. Going to location further away can be beneficial because of the change in environment, the feeling of a brand new start and also to show their true commitment to sticking it out.

All in all we believe the benefits of attending a small rehab are worth it.
Call us at Always Hope to check availability or to find out more about our program.

1-829-932-0123

Addiction Help and Advice for the Families

Addiction Help and Advice for the Families

addiction help familyQuite often family and friends are burdened and negatively affected by the actions or behaviours of those struggling with an addiction. Living with someone in active addiction can be burdensome and draining emotionally, physically and also financially. I would like to offer some addiction help to all of you who may be affected. These are based on my own experiences and from lessons I have learned from others.

Remember 3 things to start with

  1. You didn’t cause the addiction. In life sometimes “shit happens”.
  2. You can’t control the addict/alcoholic or their addiction.
  3. You can’t stop drinking or using for someone else.

Addiction help for the addict/alcoholic:

Continue reading Addiction Help and Advice for the Families

Decision, Decision: How do I Choose?

Decision: Why do people choose Always Hope Addiction Treatment?

With a multitude of different options available out there, I thought I’d highlight the benefits of Always Hope to help guide you in your decision. A one-size-fits-all mentality isn’t useful and so it is good there are many different facilities and philosophical ideologies to choose from. There are the tax-payer funded government funded programs, to the average priced private facilities and all the way up to the luxurious places for the rich and famous (celebrity rehab). We strive to be in the somewhere between the later 2, we have our cost at the low-end of the private facilities but the attention to detail, our luxurious facilities, our location and our small size allows us to be affordable for most people and also a place where you won’t be treated as just another statistic going through the system.

Continue reading Decision, Decision: How do I Choose?

Hope for Recovery: Life after Oxy’s

Hope for Recovery: Life after Oxy’s

Recovering from an addiction can be a difficult process. The road isn’t always smooth and you will probably encounter obstacles, challenges, hardships and heartaches. But it’s a journey that everyone hoping to recover from addiction makes. It is the only way to move from a life of destruction to a happy and healthy life. I hope that sharing a bit of my story about my experience, strength and hope I can help you realize you are not alone.

hope

“I never thought I would be where I am today. Today my lovely wife and 2 boys enjoy living in the Dominican Republic. We are blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy a lifestyle I never dreamt possible. Sand and surf is just minutes away, and I am lucky to have much more time available to spend with my family due to the fact that I’m no longer chasing a high, and we have created a business that allows for much more quality family time.

Continue reading Hope for Recovery: Life after Oxy’s

My Experience with Oxy’s: Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers

My Experience with Oxy’s:

Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers

I want to share my story in 3 parts; My experience, Strength and Hope. The experience portion will focus on the time in my life when I was prescribed narcotic painkillers, the strength on the period where I entered recovery and hope will focus on how I maintain recovery and the gifts and blessings I have received in my life since the last time I used.

prescribed

Continue reading My Experience with Oxy’s: Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers

Jim’s Story of Addiction and Recovery

Jim’s Story of Addiction and Recovery

Hi, my name is Jim, I have the disease of addiction, I am a drug addict and alcoholic, I only separate these two because of the perception by society that alcohol is different, this means that whenever I use a mind altering substance of any kind, I cannot easily stop using it, and have no concept of the outcome of my using. After twenty years of drinking and using, my life became hopeless, and I felt helpless and useless. This disease affected me mentally (vengeful and destructive thinking along with blaming), physically (broken bones due to fights and accidents, poor health, and loss of freedom) emotionally (feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and uselessness) and spiritually (disconnected from myself, my beliefs and morals). As well, it affected everyone else around me, much to my surprise how much it did affect others, I only found this fact out after I found recovery. The disease is real, when and where I got it from is inconsequential, only what I can do about it here and now.

Continue reading Jim’s Story of Addiction and Recovery

Married to an Addict: A Wife’s Perspective

My life married to an addict…….after Rehab: The wife’s perspective.

I was petrified picking up my husband from rehab, it was Fricken scary! I was so angry at him for what he had put me and our two sons through! For what he had done to himself.
For weeks after that initial day I could not trust him, every time he went to town or anywhere, I wondered if he was going to use again? Where was he really going?

My painful past was still so fresh in my mind that it consumed me!
I wanted security and happiness back!

Continue reading Married to an Addict: A Wife’s Perspective

Testimonial: Always Hope lived up to its Name

Testimonial: Always Hope lived up to its Name

During my four week stay at Always Hope, just this past month, I found that the facility definitely lived up to it’s name and this is my testimony or testimonial. I did not commit to this program without a good deal of thought. I had met the couple who developed the centre in the Dominican during my stay at a different treatment centre several years ago. Additionally, the excellent counsellor with whom I worked at Always Hope, had been the head counsellor at the afore mentioned centre. All of these folks had garnered my deep respect.

I arrived at a very low point in my battle with alcohol, having “slipped” once again, but I was very hopeful that these people…..these people who had been in my shoes at one time….. could help me. I was right. I was fortunate to have one on one time every day with the very knowledgeable and experienced counsellor. He helped me progress through the Twelve Step programme. I worked very hard at this, and in doing so, I was able to really assess where I’d been, what I tried to deal with on my own, what I needed to do about it and what I hoped for in my future. I came to realize that without the help of something or someone greater than myself, I would not be successful in maintaining sobriety.

With the unconditional support of everyone there, including two delightful kids, I left feeling not only confident and inspired, but rejuvenated.The facility itself is beyond compare. Each participant is made to feel welcome, and essentially becomes a part of the family. The rooms were private, each with an ensuite. Meals were communal, a private swimming pool was right outside my door, meetings could be attended every day, and activities and outings were abundant, though optional. So different from other places I’d been.

I have no reservations in recommending Always Hope to anyone who wants and needs a fresh start. They are there for you and this is my testimonial or testimony.

Call now to find out more 1-829-932-0123

Or contact us through the contact page.

Caution: Warning Signs

Caution: Warning Signs

CAUTION 4

HALT-B

H – Hungry     A – Angry      L – Lonely     T – Tired      B – Bored

HALT-B is an anagram for the most common reasons for relapse.

Take caution if your hungry, this may sound silly but it has been found that the human brain, once addicted to a substance, will reach for this substance as a cure for any discomfort as it cannot discern between needs. A person will get a craving to drink, even though he/she is really just having hunger pangs and a quick healthy snack can resolve the craving to drink or drug.

SOLUTION – HAVE A BITE TO EAT.

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Addiction Treatment with a Caribbean Twist

Addiction Treatment Philosophy

Our philosophy at Always Hope is different then most facilities. We want you to feel at home when you are here. The institutional feel of many places leads the addict/alcoholic to feel as they are less than the staff and counsellors. This may lead to greater struggles as most people who enter an addiction treatment center already have issues being told what to do and how to do it. Actions speak louder than words and we at Always Hope walk the talk. We are all equal, no better and no worse. We have lived through the struggles with addiction and overcame. Theory can only take you so far, but if you work with our highly qualified counsellor who has lived through the grips of active addiction you will learn to regain control of your life.

Call or contact us today to find out more

1-829-932-0123

Continue reading Addiction Treatment with a Caribbean Twist

Secrets and Fears: Always Hope

Secrets and Fears

Are my secrets out in the public? Does everyone know? How will I be judged? When I decided that I was “sick and tired” of being “sick and tired” and finally took the steps to get healthy I figured everyone would know my “secrets” and that I would be judged accordingly. The truth is that most people are so busy with their own lives, and have their own skeletons in the closet that they aren’t consumed or really care about your past or secrets. People usually care more about how you are as a person “today” are you kind, happy, healthy? Yes, they may notice a difference in your appearance or glow, but until you share your story they may not know why.

Call today if you or someone you love is struggling 1-829-932-0123

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Smile! Take a Holiday while you Recover

Smile! Take a Holiday while you Recover

Learn to smile and laugh again as addiction treatment doesn’t need to be all sweat and tears. Of course there will be plenty of both (especially sweat) when you get to spend your time at a beautiful resort type addiction treatment facility in the caribbean.  Here at Always Hope we  understand it is a huge step to take the chance to go to “rehab” and so we want to make your decision to seek help as easy as possible and make your stay with us as pleasant as possible.

Call 1-829-932-0123 now for more info.

vitamin

Continue reading Smile! Take a Holiday while you Recover

What Addiction Treatment is right for You?

What Addiction Treatment Centre is right for You?

Many questions come up when choosing which addiction treatment facility may be right for you or your loved ones. There are many places and choices of where, when and how long to go for help to overcome your struggles with addiction. To help you decide we would suggest contact people who may have gone through treatment, or phone and talk to someone from whichever facility you are looking into and ask many questions to find out if they can help or refer you to someone who can.

Contact us today with any questions  1-829-932-0123

Questions to ask if you are considering going to an addiction treatment centre: 

Continue reading What Addiction Treatment is right for You?

Serenity Now! Always Hope saved me.

Serenity Now!

I thank Always Hope for saving my life

Making the decision to seek help was, undoubtedly, one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. However, after talking to Jim and Roger, I was confident that Always Hope Treatment Centre was the perfect place for me to get the help I desperately needed. It truly was one of the best things I have ever done for myself and this is my testimonial or testimony.

Suffering with a cocaine addiction for the past four years was hell. Not only had I become estranged from my family and friends, but my finances and my career were in serious jeopardy. I had tried everything I could think of to beat my cocaine addiction. Nothing worked. My frustration only grew and my self-esteem and confidence only continued to dwindle. The world seemed to be closing in on me and I had no-where to turn. I really doubted that anyone could help me. It was one of the darkest times of my life.

Continue reading Serenity Now! Always Hope saved me.

Not Just a Number, but a Welcome Guest

Not Just a Number, but a Welcome Guest

My testimonial or testimony in regards to Always Hope. Making the decision to seek help was, undoubtedly, one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. However, after talking to Jim and Roger, I was confident that Always Hope Treatment Centre was the perfect place for me to get the help I desperately needed. It truly was one of the best things I have ever done for myself.

Suffering with a cocaine addiction for the past four years was hell. Not only had I become estranged from my family and friends, but my finances and my career were in serious jeopardy. I had tried everything I could think of to beat my cocaine addiction. Nothing worked. My frustration only grew and my self-esteem and confidence only continued to dwindle. The world seemed to be closing in on me and I had no-where to turn. I really doubted that anyone could help me. It was one of the darkest times of my life.

Continue reading Not Just a Number, but a Welcome Guest

Addiction: What do Addicts know?

What do Addicts know?

Addicts learn many life lessons through the unfortunate progression of the disease and also through the steps taken to overcome. Many so-called “normal folk” never truly appreciate the life they are living. This is due to the fact that they never have to battle the difficulties and demons that most addicts do. Addicts come to accept their past, make amends to those they have affected and move forward with an enlightened view on their life and the world around them. The steps taken to recover from addiction can be uncomfortable, but in the end the serenity and peace that comes from conquering their addiction help create a healthier and highly productive member of society.

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Am I addicted

Am I addicted?

You’re addicted when you’re no longer in control of what u use. You can get mental and / or physical dependence. Psychological dependency is when you are getting a strong desire for the product and you can not feel comfortably without it.

Physical dependence is particularly apparent habituation and withdrawal symptoms. Habituation means that the body gets used to the drug and are increasingly required to achieve the desired effect.

Withdrawal symptoms are the physical reactions to reduce or discontinue use. Often these withdrawal symptoms are not pleasant at all. One of the reasons people start using drugs again.

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Addiction treatment in the Caribbean

Addiction treatment works best if you are not in your own environment.

We started an addiction treatment center in the heart of the Caribbean, in our own little paradise, the Dominican Republic.

Here is no distraction, a complete new life, away from everything you know or that might disturb you. We are located at the beautiful North Coast, in the surroundings of Puerto Plata. This location goes hand-in-hand with the programs we offer. The Dominican Republic has lots to offer in the form of activities on your road to recovery. There are many water sports such as surfing, there are amazing golf course’s and plenty of natural adrenaline rushes to be enjoyed. If you just want to sit by the pool, or at the beach in your free time we provide the time to relax and recuperate. We want the process of healing your mind, body and spirit to be as easy a journey as possible and so you will not be confined to the treatment facilities. If you want to enjoy all the great things life can offer join us at Always Hope where we can help you get the life back that you always dreamed of.

Call us today at 1-829-932-0123

Continue reading Addiction treatment in the Caribbean