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  • October 20, 2020

7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, via ZOOM

(email for meeting code and password)



Kelly is a single mom who has worked three jobs supporting her two boys in California. Her oldest son has been dealing with addiction for the past nine years. As an emotional, behavioral counselor for middle and high schoolers as well as a teacher, Kelly first thought she could “handle the situation” and “fix her son”. Through the years of weed, pills, alcohol, heroin and now Benzos and fentanyl she realized this disease is a battle that affects the entire family.

Kelly became nationally certified as a Family Recovery Coach, Sober Companion and an Interventionist to help and support families that are going through the same situations. She has realized there is a difference between enabling and being a loving parent, and that we all need tools to work with, help and support our loved one’s through their addiction.

One of the most important things for a family member to work on when dealing with addiction is learning to take care of themself. Self-care is so hard to do when your world is spinning. You tend to put every ounce of physical and emotional attention into the addiction and not focus at all on taking care of yourself

Learning to view our situations in a different way will change the way we feel, see and react to our loved one’s addiction.

  • June 16, 2020

7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, via ZOOM

(email for meeting code and password)



This month we are lucky to have James Cardamone as our presenter!

James is a nationally Certified Recovery Coach through the Addiction Academy (  He has had an interesting road to recovery and has experienced a variety of pathways to find sobriety.  He will share his knowledge of the alternative paths that led him on his journey as well as sharing his thoughts on recovery during a pandemic.

James’ story began with drinking at 13 years of age which continued through high school and college. He was an athlete and earned a division 1 golf scholarship to Seton Hall University.  After graduating, at 22 years old, he took a job as a caddy at a golf club and was offered a position on Wall Street.  It was then that he began using cocaine and other substances, spending every penny he had.   After an arrest at age 27 outside of a Las Vegas night club, his family did an intervention and his recovery began.  He was admittedly broken – spiritually, mentally, physically and financially.  Witnessing the pain this was causing his family and his girlfriend (who is now his wife) became the motivator to make a change.  
James used drugs, sex, gambling and alcohol as a crutch and a way to escape reality.  They masked the insecurity, fear, anxiety and emotional pain he was in.  While there may have been genetic factors (an aunt 13 years sober and a grandfather who was an alcoholic), he believes that the lack of emotional connection and past trauma was more at the root of his addiction.

His journey has been the most painful, beautiful and rewarding experience of his life. He has done things he never would have done if he were still using.  He has been a  guest on podcasts, been on retreats, read 32 books, co-facilitated a weekly men’s group, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, participated in an Ayahuasca ceremony in the Sacred Valley of Peru, started golfing again, got certified as a recovery coach, got accepted into grad school and got married!  Being sober is allowing James to be the person he was always meant to be!

Sobriety has given him a chance, Recovery has given him a life.

You can learn more about James at


After much thought and consideration, we have decided to cancel our March 17th meeting.  Addiction does not give up, however if we are sick we can not be there to care for our loved ones.  We wish everyone health and safety during this challenging time.  If you need anything, please reach out and we will do our best to help.

  • February 18, 2020​  

IMPORTANT - Remember!  New Location! - Old First United Methodist Church, 197 Locust Avenue, West Long Branch.



How To Communicate With Your Loved One


Some of you may or may not remember the name Richie Lapinski!  Richie happened to drop in to one of our meetings last year and made such an impression on us, that we are happy to welcome him as our February presenter.  He will be sharing with us his perspective on interacting with an addict, how to communicate with your family member and help them through all phases, from early use to long term sobriety.  Richie’s experiences from over a decade of battling his own addiction to now working in the industry helping others gives him a perspective that we can absolutely learn from.

Richie grew up in Monmouth County and in high school excelled as vice president of his class, member of the national honor society, member of the peer leader program and a star athlete, earning a football scholarship to Lehigh University.  While at Lehigh, several injuries would dramatically change the course of his life.  Until that point everything came easy to him, but without his star athlete identity, he turned a corner into what he describes as a true hell on earth.  He began partying and escalated into a life as a drug user and a drug dealer (becoming his own best customer).  By the age of 32, Richie had been jailed 6 times and had served a 3 year state prison sentence.  He had also checked himself into rehab 5 times in an effort to spare his family the pain he had put them through. During his last stint in a rehab, he had a moment of clarity when he realized his actions were not only affecting him, but all those who loved and cared about him.


June 6th of 2016, Richie began his journey of recovery.  He is now proud to list his accomplishments. Currently he is the outreach director for Niznik Healthcare, a national drug and alcohol treatment company as well as the drug outreach director for the Hudson County grant funded program that enables him and his team to go out into the community offering help to those in need who may not have the means or knowledge or know where to get help.  He is the former owner and executive outreach director for Foundations Wellness Center, served as Operations Manager, Alumni director and housing director for Essentials Recovery.  He is most proud of Families Fighting Addiction, a group he founded with 8000 members across the country. The group’s mission is to offer help, resources and education for loved ones of those suffering from this terrible disease. It is also a forum for the addict and their family to experience what it is like from each other’s perspective, helping them understand the disease and its effect, culminating in better understanding and communication.


Hope you can be there!

  • January 21, 2020​  

IMPORTANT - VENUE LOCATION CHANGE - Old First United Methodist Church, 197 Locust Avenue, West Long Branch.


This month our presenter is Nick Geissler, MA. Stories like Nicks help us stay hopeful!

Growing up Nick was active in sports and went to Western New England University to study History and play baseball. His dream was to play professional baseball but after having 2 surgeries on his shoulder, Nick, like many others had his first introduction to opiates. With baseball out of the picture he started working towards helping shape the minds of youth.

While working on his Master’s in Education, he became interested in the mental health field and worked at Bonnie Brae, a residential facility for boys followed by a position with Trinitas Regional Medical Center working in the child/adolescent/MICA PHP and IOP. It was during this time that Nick’s addiction progressed from drinking to becoming heavily involved with prescription drugs. He tried many different avenues to “figure out what was wrong with him” and “how to fix his problem.”

After attending 2 rehabs, ER visits, psych wards and individual counseling, Nick thought he had the world figured out but quickly realized his score card read zero. He finally decided to try something different, did not return home and went instead to a Structured Sober Living in Southern New Jersey and stayed there for a significant amount of time. While there he got involved in the recovery community and with the guidance of staff started to rebuild his life.

Nick now works with Surfside Recovery Services Inc. as there Director of Community Outreach and Recovery Coaching. He now has a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a Certified Family Interventionist. Surfside Structured Sober Living is a long term extended care program for young adult males 18-35. It is a comprehensive life development program, with 12 step immersion and action - adventure based activities. He is an instrumental member of the recovery community and can often be found helping the residents at Surfside. When he is not working you can find him relaxing on the beach, working out in the gym or spending time with his family and friends.

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