In this podcast, hear about sober living homes from the men behind Destiny by the Sea: Nate Kehlmeier, Brandon Bell and Mike Carlson. They describe how their sober living home for men works and how they use recovery management for their clients.
Gina Thorne: Hi everyone this is Gina Thorne with Lakeview Health and we’re really excited today to be joined by staff from Destiny by the Sea, a sober living program in Boynton Beach, Florida. I’m joined by Mike Carlson, who is the founder of Destiny by the Sea; Nate Kehlmeier, who is the director; and Brandon Bell, who is the house manager. Welcome, gentlemen. Destiny by the Sea: Thank you, thanks for having us. Gina: We’re real excited to hear more about your program and what you all have to offer. I’m going to direct my first question over to you Mike. Tell us a little bit about Destiny by the Sea. Mike: Destiny by the Sea is an all-male halfway sober living house. It is 18 beds. It is in Boynton Beach, Florida, and like the name says it’s by the sea, so right down the street from the ocean, close to public transportation, very easy for guys to get jobs and with the community that we have and the staff that we have supporting us, guys are doing very well. Gina: And you founded the program? Mike: I’m one of the original founders. Me and Nate pretty much took over the house from another gentleman who was running a female house. He just didn’t have the right direction, right guidance that went along with a proper sober living. So we stepped in and took over and it’s been doing very well ever since. Gina: How long has it been in operation? Mike: Since April of last year. Gina: Okay good, excellent, so but before that it would have been in the community for a while? Mike: It’s been in the community for about 6 months, 8 months at that time. It just really hadn’t taken off the ground. There’s 6 apartments, there’s 3 people to an apartment, there one bedroom. They’re spacious, we came in, we painted the whole place, we updated some of the older, out-of-date fixtures and things like that, put flat screen TVs on the wall, leather couches , you know brought in some of the nicer amenities. Gina: Made it more male-friendly. Mike: Yeah. Gina: Good, that’s awesome great. So Brandon, I’m going to ask you the next question. Tell us a little bit about what makes Destiny by the Sea different from other recovery homes? Brandon: Well, what makes Destiny by the Sea a little different from other recovery homes in our area– One is our staff dedication. Between me, myself, Mike and Nate, we’re dedicated to providing a solid recovery base. What we preach is the 12 steps. We work with our clients and help them get involved in what recovery is about. On top of that, one of the cheaper houses on the expensive side. Our rent is $165 a week, it’s completely affordable, as opposed to a lot of other houses in the area that start between 200-$250 a week. We work with addicts in recovery, you know alcoholics, people who are trying to get back on their feet, $200 a week isn’t really exactly affordable. We want to be able to help them. You know, $165 a week with the structure and what we provide to our clients, I think that’s what sets us apart. You know the fact that, you know we’re a little smaller than some the bigger places; 18 beds, but with those 18 beds we focus, we get to focus on our guys. We get to spend extra time with our clients and actually helpful be part of their recovery in this process. Gina: That’s great and the intimacy is very important, especially in early recovery. They need to be held accountable but when you got a big group like that it makes a big difference. Brandon: Absolutely. Gina: That’s fantastic. So you talk a little bit about making sure, you help these guys find jobs, to help them find support systems, you talk a little bit about the cost factor and how we all know that if you’re in early recovery, finances can be an issue. So I guess what I’m talking about is recovery coaching and recovery management and those things often times can be a big trigger for people to relapse. I learned through your website that you all have a very strong commitment to recovery and on your website you indicate you involve recovery coaches. We use recovery coaches here at Lakeview and we see the value in it. So can you tell us a little bit about the role of a recovery coach at Destiny by the Sea? Mike: I do the majority of the recovery coaching, if I’ve got the time. It all depends obviously on the person we want it. Motivate them to do things on their own, learn them on their own, take care of things on their own, and be self-sufficient. For the guys that just don’t pick it up right away, myself, Nate, Brandon, we all step in. We introduce them to good meetings in the area. I mean, just close to the halfway, there are probably 200 meeting, every hour on the hour. It’s just South Florida, it’s just everywhere. You take the good with the bad, we give them direction to good meetings, and we introduce them to some of our close supports for reaching out, maybe they could be their sponsor or whatever the case is. I do a lot of the vocational activities as far as teaching them how to build a resume, how to interview, how to talk to potentially to someone who is going to be your boss. Where to look, you know a lot of the guys who come in they don’t come in with a clean slate, they got felonies, problems and child support and all those things that they really didn’t consider when they were getting high and now they want to have a normal life. Well, we try and help them get on that track as quickly and effectively as possible. We charge less in rent. The rent is $165 a week. That’s what sets us apart. Our dedication–we’re so much more intimate on making sure people are doing what they are supposed to be doing. We can see people on a daily basis. We know everybody by their first name and last name. We know everyone’s back story. We talk to their parents, whoever they got supporting them at this point in their life. If they have a bad day, we know and we can pull them out of that real easy cause we’ve been there before. Myself, I have 3 ½ years sober and these guys have some time too, you know, 6 years. Gina: So that certainly makes a huge difference, when you’ve been there and you’ve done it and you know what works. Obviously having that support system in place, particularly having that coach there to kind of help them get through the day-to-day life skill stuff is really important. So selfishly I have to ask, you spent some time at Lakeview, you guys were here yesterday talking to our patients. What is one thing you could comment on with your experience with us today? What it is about Lakeview that is different or what is it about Lakeview that you learned? Mike: I mean, you guys pretty much have everything on point, from what it used to be and what it is now. You guys have done a lot of good positive changes. I like the construction going on, that’s pretty cool. You guys have an awesome caring staff; obviously, you guys have taken some consideration in who you’ve picked to be on your team. Gina: Thank you, well we’re really excited about all the changes and of course, our biggest change was bringing folks like you to the table to help us be successful with our patients recovery over time. We know we are episodic care. We do treatment but we’re not long-term care. That’s what we leave it to the experts like you guys. If someone wanted to access services at Destiny by the Sea, how would they get in touch with you? Mike: There are plenty of different ways to get in touch with us. You can check us out on our website, which is destinysoberliving.com. And you could shoot us an email on there or you could call our 800 number is 888-800-9169. Or you can reach me on my cell phone, 561-251-6120 that’s a 24-hour line. That’s my cell phone. I never sleep. Or you could reach Nate and his number is 419-262-2436 and you could reach him anytime you want. Call him at 3 o’clock in the morning, he will wake up, I promise. Gina: Well great, thank you guys for joining us today and again for those of you listening if you’re interested in learning more about Lakeview Health we encourage you to visit us online at lakeviewhealth.com. If you have a member of your family or an individual that you know is struggling with substance use disorder and needs access to treatment right away, feel free to call our intake department at 866-460-8416. Thank you.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]