Fresh Start Ministers is an initiative started in Central Florida in 1986, with the core purpose to help men struggling with alcohol addiction and drug abuse. The best part of the program is, men can undergo the program while working and supporting the family. With mental, physical and spiritual help, the treatment offered is one of its kind and have been able to generate positive results.


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In the below mentioned interview with Joe Cordovano, the Executive Director at Fresh Start Ministries, we talked about the challenges faced by the staff as well as the addict during the program.


The first question was regarding gender based substance abuse treatment, what are the area of focus and what practices are followed to address the addict?


In reply Joe stated, ‘Initially, they isolate themselves from God, then they estrange them from own self, they try to run away from the person they have become, and not what god want them to be. Also, they estrange themselves from their spouse or closed ones, when they are the one who really care from them, instead they push them away. This whole scenario is co related as isolation diverts towards more addiction and more addiction results in isolation. The biggest hurdle is when they person denies the problem. Once they realize about the addiction, then the road towards cure becomes easy.’


He also added that he has noticed men have a very low self esteem and they find it hard to forgive themselves about the way they treated other during the addiction. One thing noticed in addiction treatment centers is that, men are very fragile in emotions compared to women, it just takes them a while to let the emotions out.


In another question regarding the challenges faced during the treatment of addicts with substance use, Joe mentioned Knight-In-Shining-Armor syndrome. He said that, ‘We are made to believe that we are all to be super heroes saving the world while the whole time we are emotional wrecks because we think we are not supposed to share our thoughts, feelings or any emotional baggage. Eventually with such emotional trauma and inner battle, we become more prone to addiction, as once the effect of addiction kicks in, the feelings, the emotions go away for a while. Thus many a time we see that a drunk male opens up or cries or share feelings, who normally does not.’


Men Addiction Rehab


The other question was regarding the early stages of recovery, which are considered the most challenging and the chances of relapse.
In reply Joe talked about BUDD (build up to drink or drug). He explained BUDD, saying it is a period of time when a person experiences the most desire or urge to use drugs or alcohol. The predictable time frame is 4 to 6 weeks, then it jumps to 4 to 6 months,, then somewhere between an year and lastly, at the end of first year. In such instance is when the person has to make the real choice of going back to abuse or stick to drug rehab centers, if this time frames are dealt with in a positive manner, it makes the treatment easier.


The next question was regarding drug and alcohol testing. How frequent were they undertaken and under what condition.
In reply Joe Said, that testing is very important and it keeps the men accountable. Joe also stated, “When a man comes home from a day pass, everyone knows that if he stepped on the property there is a 95% chance he hasn’t taken any booze or other drug in the system due to conscience. As most passes are on the weekends, it is win-win situation for everybody..”


The interview was very productive and it helps to understand the organization and their methods in a much efficient way. To conclude, Joe said that, there is hope for everyone, no matter how bad it seems. Well, we all support such cause and we wish Joe and the team all the best for the future.


You guys are doing a great job.


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