Category Archives: Caribbean

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.

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. 

Free Rehab

UPDATED JULY 1,2020 *THIS OFFER IS UNFORTUNATELY NOT AVAILABLE ANYMORE DUE TO THE FACT THAT FLIGHTS ARE COMING INTO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC AGAIN. THE OFFER WAS TO HELP DURING THE COVID-19 AND THE TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS*

I’ll try and make this short and to the point; free rehab online was available to anyone interested. Due to social distancing and the need for all to self isolate so the spread of this pandemic ends. We at Always Hope wanted to still help those still suffering in active addiction, or anyone who wants to learn more about what someone may learn at rehab. 

We were willing to email out all our literature and program info to anyone that contacted me through Facebook, text, phone call or email.  There are 33 different assignments or reading info

1-829-932-0123

contact@always-hope.ca

I realize this didn’t give you the 1-1 counselling but I personally am also always available for any questions, calls or videochats. 
This wasn’t ideal or a cure all but I wanted to do my part to help while we all struggled through these trying times. I hope this helped those that took advantage of this offer when it was still available.

Take care

Roger Palsma owner of Always Hope

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