Getting Sober in Sunny South Florida

February 9, 2017 by Nick W

They say you can get sober anywhere, and I truly believe that, but being in South Florida made it a much smoother process for me. South Florida is commonly known as the recovery capital of the world. With its numerous treatment centers, its wealth of halfway houses, and the strong presence of 12-step fellowship, here in Palm Beach County we exude recovery. We seem to eat, sleep and breathe sobriety. Call me biased, but I really believe that this is the perfect place to get sober.

Recovery is Everywhere

Everyone who worked at the treatment center I attended knew what I was going through, because they had been where I was. They were almost all in recovery, and many of them had attended the very treatment center that they now were employed at – from the Behavioral Health Technicians, the therapists, and even the receptionist. There is something remarkable about sitting across from someone who has been where you are, who knows how it feels, and who has come out the other side and is a happy, sober person freed from the mental obsession of drugs and alcohol. Personally, the only people who have ever gotten through to me are people who experienced the same things as I had.

Whatever your addiction, you will find a twelve-step meeting for it. Be it alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, an eating disorder, sex addiction, codependency, or a combination of the two, here in South Florida we’ve got a meeting for you! There are meetings at literally all times of day, every single day. No matter what hours I work, I can still find the time to get myself to a meeting. I am guaranteed to be within a few miles of a twelve-step meeting wherever I go in Palm Beach County. One 12-step clubhouse hosts over 100 meetings per week!

The community of sober people who scooped me up and made me whole again saved my life. Not just in the rooms of 12-step fellowships, I run into recovered people I know on a daily basis. Whether I’m grocery shopping at Publix, or taking an Uber to work, I seem to run into people in recovery even when I’m not looking for them. It’s inevitable. I run into friendly faces I know from twelve-step meetings literally everywhere I go in Palm Beach County. It’s actually a very comforting feeling.

People Get It

When I first started my journey to recovery, I felt that I was alone in my suffering; that I was the only one in the world who felt those feelings of desperation. When I got to treatment in Florida, I was pleased to find out that I was wrong. I was surrounded by people who knew how it felt. They understood. Not only did they relate to where I was and what I was feeling, they had gotten through it and they got better. These people were smiling, laughing, and genuinely happy and content. They had been through the thick of it and emerged out the other side. They were complete people. They had filled the black hole inside of themselves. I was intrigued. I wanted to know more. That little bit of intrigue is what got me to where I am today, it’s been over two years since I’ve picked up a drink or a drug. Seeing so many happy, recovered people made me think “what if I can recover too?”. That tiny thought of “what if?” is all I had when I made my beginning, and I’ve come to learn that’s really all anyone needs.

It’s a Beautiful Place

It’s no wonder why so many people take vacations to Florida so frequently. The sunshine, the warm weather, the beaches, the palm trees, the fresh air; it is an extremely beautiful place. While these things have absolutely nothing to do with recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, it’s certainly nice to have them in our lives. In the moments where I feel disconnected from my spirituality, I am quickly reminded of it by just looking out at the wondrous nature and the beauty of it all.  Beyond that, there are so many activities to do outside here in Florida, it’s hard to isolate and stay inside. Yoga, beach volleyball, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and even sun-tanning. There is a never-ending list of fun, cost efficient outdoor activities to choose from here in Florida. When I’m not doing 12-step work, I can indulge in the Florida weather and get outside to do something fun.

If we take the necessary action, it’s possible to get sober no matter where we are. Someone close to me likes to say “you can get sober living under a bridge,” and she’s absolutely right. In my opinion, it does, however, make it a little easier if we are surrounded by recovery day in and day out.

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