Today, we continue our 12-part series Reclaim Your Life. Addiction is not easy to overcome,
and the road to recovery leads in different directions. But the path can be fun and enriching
as well, as I found out when I visited Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Delray
Beach, Florida and met the people behind their client housing.
(music). So, you know many of our clients do come from
the streets where they have nothing; they could be homeless. Addiction is a family disease,
so one of the things that it is going to cause, it’s going to cause chaos in the home. So,
even if somebody is coming a from a home that most likely wasn’t a functional, and that’s
kind of what we give them here. We give them a functional home, you know, with a schedule
of a certain time that they’re going to wake up every day and a room mate and someone that
they can cook with, and different interpersonal skills that will help them because these are
the skills that they’re going to need to live their new life.
When a client first comes in, they’re never really fully sure if they want to do this.
Some people more than others look for any reason to leave, and we try to eliminate all
those reasons. We have a beautiful lake, we have beautiful picturesque grounds. We have
three buildings. They’re separated by age and gender. What makes Transformations different
is our holistic approach and a home-like setting where they have a host of recreational activities
and really learn the valuable life skills that make them build that self-worth and self-esteem
again. As Director of Operations and Director of
Medical Records at Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Delray Beach,
Florida, Chris Hanaka and Louis Pompeo are keenly aware of what’s needed for addicts
to turn their lives around. Chris, many of the clients who come here obviously
have a tough road ahead. How do you prepare them for this journey?
You know, a lot of people say that recovery isn’t for those who want it or need it, it’s
for those who do it. So come with an open heart, some willingness, and some faith, and
we’ll show you the way. When our clients come here, they feel like they can’t do anything.
Everything is this big hurdle to get over, but when you first start doing your laundry
every day, when you first start cooking for yourself, picking out what you’re going to
cook to begin with, doing your dishes every day, doing your laundry, you really start
to build self-esteem and a sense of self-value that, you know what, I can do this again.
So, we teach people how to cook, how to plan a menu, how to plan their day and weeks around
a limited budget. We teach you how to vacuum. We don’t say, “Hey, vacuum your room.” We
have someone literally show you how to vacuum, show you how to fold your laundry. If a client
acts up, we give them a consequence. Sometimes that consequence is five random acts of kindness.
One of those acts of kindness can be folding someone’s laundry, showing them how to iron.
So, Olga, what I also want to add is that we teach people here how to live sober for
the first time in their lives. And is that important?
I mean, that’s the most important piece of this, you know, is that we’re doing that in
a home setting that they can feel a sense of ownership in.
Because they probably thought they could never do that.
Right, and most of them come in thinking that this is going to be an impossible task.
What worked for me was, not only is it a 12-step based program, but they actually treated you
like an adult. They didn’t treat you like an individual that had a problem. They treated
you as an individual who had specific needs, specific wants, specific desires. And, for
me, I wanted to get back to the life that I knew. The worst thing for me was I lost
me, and that’s what I wanted back. Besides teaching the skills needed for life
after recovery, housing at Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center is centered
around an active lifestyle of meetings and events that are not only inspirational, but
create a fun environment for a life worth living.
Louis, I’m sure when clients come here they probably don’t realize that they might have
some fun here, and they have that misconception that “Ugh…I’m just going into a depressing
place.” Right, right. I think a lot of people come
in and we hear it all the time, “How am I ever going to have fun again not drinking,
you know, not doing drugs and not socializing?” By their first weekend here, we’ve pretty
much proved that concept wrong. We have a host of activities. Monday night
is dessert delight night for the ladies. Wednesday night, cooking class. Thursday night, food
and fellowship, fun in the clubhouse watching Thursday night football. Friday night, movie
night. For example, we just took our clients deep sea fishing on the charter boat. We had
about 16 clients out there. They had the time of their lives. They caught Mahi Mahi, Tuna,
and for a lot of guys it was the first time ever fishing. So, it was really nice to see
them, you know, literally reel it in and have fun and do so as a community.
Louis, how do you know when one of your clients has learned the life skills, those necessary
skills, to finally make it on their own? As a staff member, you’re overjoyed to see
somebody who went from head down staring at the floor to shoulders and head up, you know,
and looking you in the eye. And that’s probably, I think most of us would say, the most amazing
part of our job. We see people come in here spiritually, physically,
emotionally bankrupt. They come in here, they’re their old self. When they leave here, after
that transformation, it’s like meeting them for the first time. It’s so fulfilling. It’s
why we work here. They put me back on track and made me responsible
again because I wasn’t responsible for so long for anything, you know. It brought me
back to being a human being again. And that’s the transformation that happens
here every day for an addict in recovery, to have fun, start feeling better, and create
a life worth living. And we hope you’ll join us again in our Reclaim
Your Life series as we show you how Transformations Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center is changing
lives on the road to recovery. Next time, we’re going to see how one particular experience,
the Serenity Lounge, offers a unique program of transformation. Remember, for more information,
you can go to TransformationsTreatment.Center, and of course our website, TheBalancingAct.com.