Alumni Support Team
Mark Adams, Alumni Coordinator
Mark is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment Center, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives. We push for support and true connection with one another. There is strength in numbers and that is why we have a need to stay connected. If anybody is ever going through a rough time in their recovery, feel free to contact Mark. He will always be there with his hand out to help and with a smile on his face.
Office Phone: 239.895.0610 Ext. 3024
Helping Hands Hotline: (877) 855-3470
Alumni Support Services
Alumni Support Services are here to support you on your journey ahead. Many of us from the WhiteSands family are out there recovering as we speak. Staying connected and reaching out when struggling, or even if you have a recovery question, are keys to success. Whether you are new to recovery or just coming back, you have the ability to inspire others as you continuously work to better yourself. Addiction recovery is no easy feat, but the positive support found in this WhiteSands alumni group can make long-term recovery much more attainable.
Once an alumnus reaches a year of recovery, they can come into our facility to share their story but now sit on another side of the fence. Sharing about the dark path of abuse that got them there but also what keeps them progressing in life today and what it takes for them to continue to recover.
Alumni Support Group
The continuing growth and success of our Alumni are of the utmost importance to WhiteSands Treatment Center. As such, we provide a safe venue once a month for our former clients to share in each other’s everyday life experiences and to discuss how they are feeling about their journey in recovery. Food will be provided for the event. Much strength is gained from one of our Alumni helping another. Alumni Support Group is hosted Tuesday nights at 630PM at 4531 Deleon St, Ft Myers, FL 33907. It is right by the residential location. Please come join us!
We had an alumni get together on July 15th, 2017. Alumni were welcome to attend and enjoy food, fun, and fellowship. There was a DJ there along with sports and other activities including raffles, karaoke, and games. There was also a WhiteSands alumni speaker. This was a good time to further the recovery network of patients and was a great opportunity to make new friendships.
On Saturday, April 28, 2018, WhiteSands had an alumni event at a local paintball park. We rented the park for all of our alumni and had a blast, literally! Events such as these, serve an important purpose. First, to keep alumni connected to one another. Alumni can also connect with new members and help grow their support networks. Then, we want to show how much fun we are able to have now. Many think in the beginning stages of recovery that we can no longer have fun. WhiteSands is here to prove there is a lot of good life to live after addiction. Recovery does not have to be dim. We can live and enjoy life without the use of substances. Our team goes above and beyond to prove that to our alumni with events like these.
The WhiteSands Treatment Center alumni program connects recently discharged clients with other recovering alumni. This relationship provides encouragement and support for our clients, as they adjust to living a sober lifestyle and engage in additional support groups at home. If you would like to become a buddy, please contact Mark Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to learn more about what the program entails.
March 30, 2019 – Paintball
*Our White Sands family is gathering at Extreme Rage Paintball Park. The event is located at 3820 Veronica S Shoemaker Blvd, Fort Myers, FL 33916. We are going to meet for an exciting day full of fun, fellowship, and food. Come have a blast with us!
June 29, 2019 – HeadPinz
*Alumni will be meeting for bowling at HeadPinz. We will meet at 14513 Global Parkway, Fort Myers, Florida 33913. Bowling will be the main event but there is much more to do at HeadPinz. They have a full laser tag room with two floors. Each member will compete for the highest score. They also have a challenging ropes course and a full arcade room with everyone’s favorite games.
October 5, 2019 – Annual Alumni Picnic
*White Sands third annual alumni picnic will be held at Lakes Park. You will find us all at 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, FL 33908 at Pavilion C-1. Alumni will come to see their favorite staff members and friends. We will have speakers, games, raffles and outdoor activities. Blacken Blues Barbeque will cater the event.
December 14, 2019 – Escape Room
*Members who are able to attend will meet at Escape Room Adventures. The address is 12995 South Cleveland Avenue, Suite 217, Fort Myers, FL 33907 and it will start at 2:00 P.M. We will have to work together on this adventure to complete a series of puzzles and solve riddles together, as a team we will use clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand to then escape the room. This is a great opportunity for us all to work on our teamwork and communication skills.
Long-Term Recovery Management
Some of the recovery programs we provide include:
- Phone follow-up from our support team
- Intensive outpatient weekly meetings
- Communication by email
- Family programming
- Aftercare resources
- A support network
Our staff can also help assist you in locating addiction recovery meetings in your area.
Tales of Recovery:
I grew up in Connecticut with my parents and my twin brother. Our parents went through a lot to have us and when we were growing up we were constantly told that we were miracles and showered with love and affection. I couldn’t understand why I was so loved. I felt ugly and awkward and out of place in my own skin. I began experimenting in middle school and I finally felt like I found some kind of purpose. In high school, my using progressed to daily blackouts and a string of absences, detentions, suspensions and secrets. The years after high school are a blur of geographical changes, some failed attempts at college, heroin and all of the compromised morals that go along with getting and staying high. After burning so many bridges, losing jobs and a few arrests I ended up in a treatment center for the first time over four years ago. I could say my story is a lot of trial and error, but to be honest> I never actually wanted to be clean. I never tried and I wanted to get high forever. My last night using, I ran from treatment and I was in a hotel room with money, drugs and was not a stranger to compromising myself to keep on going. I hit a bottom unlike any of the bottoms I had hit throughout the years of my active addiction. I found myself, yet again, weighing out the only option I had left – suicide. But first, I needed to get high one more time. Every time over the next few hours became ‘just one more time’ until I ran out. I was so tired. Tired of this life, as well as tired of being hopeless and completely defeated. In the middle of the night I made a phone call and unknowingly changed the course of my life. I was picked up and driven over two hours to WhiteSands from the east coast of Florida on December 17, 2014. I was greeted by familiar faces, unable to look anybody in the eyes. I had been to WhiteSands a few months before this and I felt disappointed in myself – I hoped this time, my tenth time in treatment, would be different. I went through the motions and, over time, started participating in my therapy. I began appreciating life just slightly. I had watched friends and people in the program get clean and build these beautiful lives and change and I wanted to try. What I realize now is that I stayed out of recovery for so long because I had so much fear. I was scared to learn who I was without drugs because I thought drugs gave me everything- my personality, my sense of humor, my sense of self. I was scared of failure and also scared of success. What would happen if I couldn’t do this? What would happen if I could? At the time, I saw every commitment, friendship, job and life in general as a responsibility I was terrified to take on. I was scared that my life would become full of relationships and I would do what I had always done- hurt people. At some point I decided to work through my fear and commit to being in recovery. I took suggestions and moved back into sober living. I found a sponsor and a home group. I started doing service and found that I was not the unreliable and dishonest thief I had always been. I began feeling proud of my behaviors. I could feel confident that decisions I made and actions I took were out of love and compassion. I noticed that I checked my motives and I was becoming a considerate friend, a caring daughter and sister, a trustworthy employee and an understanding sponsor. Being in recovery has given me so much more than I could have hoped for. I had no realistic goals and did not think I would make it to my 25th birthday. I believe the best gifts I have received from being here are that I get to live life on life’s terms. I get to be present today. I get to quiet my disease which told me for years that I was unlovable. I also get to watch other women discover themselves and learn to love who they are.
I grew up in a small town in central Indiana. I played basketball as far back as I could remember along with other sports. I succeeded at school and sports. I noticed early that I was different. I had an acute awareness of the long game of life. I was especially intelligent for my environment. I seemed to fit in with everybody, the different cliques, but never really had any friends. I was always fine studying, practicing, doing hobbies by myself. About the time I went to college, I tried drinking. I had gone through high school not liking the taste or smell of beer (which dad and grandpa usually drank). And, I also held the deep paranoia that if someone was going to get caught, it would be me. I wasn’t willing to take those risks.
I remember choking down my first beers. They were sour and foul. But, they made me feel good, a part of the group, accepted. That is also about the time I learned to effectively function using alcohol or in the post-alcohol haze. Some days weren’t so easy, but I learned to do it well. No one ever suspected me to be hung over. Everything that I had learned along the way (to prepare, to practice, to know things intricately), all applied to how I was functioning with alcohol. I thought it was normal to go home after work and drink 4-6 beers or a pitcher or two. I could still make dinner and take care of my home responsibilities just fine. What do you mean most people don’t drink more than a case and a half beer over the weekend? This went on for 23+ years.
<p>Finally, in NOV 2015, my wife decided she wanted a divorce, so I moved into the basement. So, I did what I do best – I drank and closed myself off. I was raised that you always go to work. You’re never too tired or too sick or too hurt. So, no matter how much I was drinking, or how much I was hurting inside, I was convinced that I was fine — an embrace of Midwestern Stoicism at its finest. But, I never dealt with the underlying emotions. I held grudges for decades. I took that pain and just filed it away…And I did that with everything. I have a way of shutting out everything and just focusing on the task at hand. When I would go home to an empty house, I would drink to calm my mind, to numb it, to slow it down just to sleep. My mind would haunt itself. See, no matter how I would compartmentalize or “file things away”, eventually it get full and overflows. That’s when things got REALLY out of hand.
My wife, along with my daughter, had stopped by the house from her boyfriend’s. She discovered me passed out on the bathroom floor in the middle of the afternoon. By that time, I had drank quite a few beers and shots mowing my lawn. We got into an argument and I disappeared for a couple days. When I returned, I told her of my epiphany to enter treatment. We got online and found WhiteSands. It saved the direction of my life and my marriage.
WhiteSands taught me an enormous amount about myself. I was always brutally honest, but not always objective, especially when it involved me. I started to analyze my life and how to make changes in my thinking, perspective, and actions. I returned healthier and more able to be a better husband and father.
Due to my current occupation and the tiny town in which I live, meetings are not a viable option. However, when I had tried to quit before, I realized meetings were not especially for me. I found that Smart Recovery works best for me. I apply a lot of the principles into my daily life. I am able catch myself, my poor ideas, and hit that pause button to rein them back in, a mental “DUDE!!! What are you thinking?!” I still talk to friends I made at WhiteSands. We are able to lean on each other and realize our journeys are very similar and to swap ideas on resolving certain situations. It all comes down to maintaining ACCOUNTABILITY, SUPPORT, and a SYSTEM. Every day I am thankful for the staff, the curriculum, and my fello>w addicts. Further, I cannot speak enough about the alumni assistance as well. That was an awesome surprise. I was scared to death of just being put through the grinder and left alone. I’m thankful for the calls and emails/messages. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
My name is Michele and I am a grateful recovering addict, though I still suffer with the disease each and every day. It all started 15 years age when I went through a life changing event. I thought that I could cope with my emotion by using. I started off smoking marijuana and drinking here an there at the age of 13. By the age of 18 I was drinking everyday and using pills. Fast-forward 7 years, my addiction was in full swing. I was smoking marijuana and drinking to just bring my self out of bed. Cocaine and pills were also some things I felt like I needed to help me get through the day. By this time there wasn’t much that I wouldn’t do to chase my next high. I was on this never ending roller-coaster ride of using to make myself feel happy and numb. However, once I reached that “high” I felt disgust and hatred towards myself. Through my many years of addiction I ended up hurting everyone around me. Not only did I hurt my family and loved ones, I lost my marriage, my kids, but most of all I lost myself. I had opened a door that I couldn’t close anymore. I was very confused and could no longer distinguish between what was good and what was bad. I couldn’t make a decision to stop all these things. During the last four years of my drug use, I used to pray to God every time to let it be my last time. I was at my rock bottom an I didn’t want to live anymore. My life changed about 14 months ago when I walked through the front doors of WhiteSands. I thought I would just go there to make my family happy and be out in about 2 weeks, but that wasn’t the case. From being there, I learned that I wasn’t alone and that there was a solution. I was introduced to a 12 step program that showed me a new way to live my life drug and alcohol free. Committing myself to a lifetime without my “best friend” was a scary thing to me, but I decided to give it a chance since nothing else had helped me before. The recovery process is where I learned to get to the core of the reasons behind my addiction. WhiteSands taught me how to address those issues so that I can effectively move on with my life without going back to drugs and alcohol and my addictive behavior. After leaving WhiteSands I have moved on to become a house manager of a halfway house, I have begun to reconnect with my family, and most of all, I have taken the steps to start loving myself.