Client & Parent Testimonials

Saving, Salvaging, Soaring…… SOBA College Recovery

Saving and salvaging lives and enabling lives to soar is SOBA College Recovery’s commitment to those suffering from the disease of addiction and other mental health challenges.

Our son, one of the casualties of the opiate epidemic and the disease of addiction, had many relapses and was treated in multiple programs, until he was admitted to SOBA

College Recovery in New Brunswick, New Jersey. SOBA is unique in this geographic area in that it is designed to offer 12 months of residential treatment in a college/university setting. The program provides a balance of treatment and recreation with the goal of gradually reintegrating the client into society through work, college courses or volunteering.

Despite our son’s reluctance to attend SOBA, due to the grip of his addiction, he gradually adjusted. It is our strong belief that the combination of the length of the program along with the skill of his treatment team are the critical components that have enabled him to maintain his sobriety and to foster his desire to work for a strong recovery.
In addition, SOBA offers very valuable meetings to families to learn about addiction and how to care for themselves and the addict in their lives in such a way as to promote and support recovery for all involved.

We are so incredibly grateful to SOBA for giving our son a chance to save his life, for helping us to salvage our family and for the hope that he will now reconnect with his potential and soar.

Confidence & Recovery

I was a client at College Recovery from October 2014 and remained in their care until April 2016. Prior to entering, I lost my closest brother to a tragic car accident, dealt with an uproar of family issues, and got myself into an emotionally abusive relationship. I had a difficult time in my personal life which affected my academic life and my emotional health. I became a victim to my own emotions, fears and anxieties. The worst part was I felt alone.

When I met my counsellor, Amanda, I could barely speak, it was difficult to express myself, and I was accustom to a routine of poor class attendance and negative self-talk. She has worked diligently to get to know me, listen to me, and support me. I saw myself grow from being depressed and insecure, to being productive, to being genuinely happy and connected with others around me. Any rough day I had, she quickly reminded me of how far I came and why it is important to not give up.

What stood out to me was the sense of community at College Recovery. It was a key factor in my recovery. From my peers, to the clinical staff, to the administrative team: I felt supported. Day after day we (the clients) had groups tailored to our needs and interests: informational groups, group processing groups, and enhancement groups (college success, motivational enhancement, yoga, etc.). I especially gained insight from process groups, as we could look to our peers and the clinical staff for feedback, advice, and role playing to help deal with a difficult situation. Another distinct part of groups was when former executive director, Frank Greenagel spoke. He has an exceptional talent to capture attention and educate. Even outside of groups Frank was a role model that many of us respected and looked up to. In addition to the hard work we put into these groups, College Recovery also planned fun weekend activities like bowling, hiking, dinners, and picnics. I am grateful for how involved I felt. Being involved with peers in these activities reminded me of how awesome life is. Every step of the way I had peers, staff, and administrators facilitating my success.

Upon leaving College Recovery I took tools and knowledge with me. I know I am not one-hundred percent cured, symptoms of depression can present themselves again, and life may bring forth some unfortunate circumstances. However, I know how to deal with the situations more effectively now. Some healthy habits I gained are healthy school attendance, advocating for myself, working out at the gym, reaching out for help when I need it, time management practices, and expressing gratitude for the pleasant parts of life. In addition, I have made some close friends along the way. Many of us who graduated still go out as a group for dinner, help each other out on an individual basis, and spend girl or guy days at the mall. I am a more productive family member, and I am a more productive student. College Recovery helped me realize what I can do for myself and helped me achieve what I could not do on my own.

A Renewed Sense Of Purpose

Before coming to CR I was very confused about who I was. I had no friends, no purpose, and no sobriety. CR gave me all of this along with a maturity and sober mindset that I could never imagine obtaining.

I arrived to CR August 12th 2015 after spending 63 days at an inpatient rehab in PA called Caron. Before I could even put my bags down I was welcomed by the community. Everyone was very kind and enthusiastic about maintaining a strong sobriety. They introduced me to a whole network of people and meetings. On the weekends we did fun activities from going to the movies to canoeing. I never thought that I would be doing any of these things not under the influence or not to mention having fun while doing them.

The IOP program has a strong group of therapists who educated me about addiction, relapse prevention, and healthy relationships.

After living there for a year I became an asset of the community. I was the one to welcome new comers and introduce them to my network. When I moved out I wanted to live close to CR. I still have strong ties with the community and I don’t think I would be sober today if it weren’t for CR. I have a job, an apartment, and most importantly the trust of my family.

In Desperate Need of Guidance

My name is Rich and I am a grateful person in long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol… I came to college recovery fresh out of the psych ward with no desire to live, very confused and in desperate need of guidance.

Frank G, an experienced founder of college recovery, did my intake over the phone and that started my amazing journey of recovery. I was shown the apartment at College Recovery that same Friday evening and my family and I were amazed with the facilities. I moved in that following Monday, talked to a dean at Rutgers University and I was on my way to taking classes again. I had a medical withdraw from Rutgers University in the fall semester of 2014 earning a .9 GPA. After one semester, 4 months at College Recovery, I learned tools such as time management, self-care and syllabus management. Applying those tools to my academics, I earned a 3.9 GPA the very next semester. Slowly but surely I felt better each day as I talked to the clinical counselors, the psychiatrist and even the Technicians in charge of Transportation to and from day groups.

I found myself finding a new meaning out of life and getting a college experience beyond my wildest dreams. I went to every weekend activity because they showed me how to have fun in sobriety as a young person. I went to Philadelphia and got my first sober cheese steak! I went to a museum completely clean in New York City. I even hiked a trail in Pennsylvania that I used to abuse many forms of drugs as well as alcohol on in active addiction. College Recovery taught me that I need to make new associations, discover new hobbies and actually learn what I am all about. The tools that College Recovery provided me are tools that I use even to this day that allow me to live a happy, joyous and free lifestyle. College recovery provided family counseling, individual therapy, regular drug screenings, intensive treatment plans, financial assistance, academic assistance and many more services that I desperately needed when I hit my ‘bottom’ in active addiction.

All of my family members were very impressed with all of the services that College Recovery provided. The program not only saved my life but also improved the quality of life for all seven of my immediate family members. Today, I am a Rutgers University graduate in my first year of graduate school working towards a Masters in Social Work so that I can help other individuals exactly how College Recovery helped me. I currently have a full-time salary job with benefits working with wonderful children with autism. I’m doing my fourth internship since I started at college recovery working with at-risk youth and sharing my experience, strength and hope with them.

Most importantly, I am at peace with myself and I am able to be a walking example of what a person in long-term recovery looks like. I’m able to help others today because College Recovery empowered me to help myself. I am forever grateful towards their program and I strongly recommend any individual or family member with a loved one suffering from addiction to make that first call to college recovery as I did that Friday evening when I got out of the psych ward. The road of recovery is not an easy one but as they say in the program, ‘It works if you work it, so work it, you’re worth it, and Live!

Never Alone

Soba College Recovery is just the name of the program that was called College Recovery while I attended. The reason I start with this is because the name of the program is not what makes the difference. What really matters are those who attend the program; this includes staff and clients. The people involved with the program of Soba, are not just people, they are family.

I never knew what personal relationships and true friends were until I walked through those doors. At first I was weary because on my first day there was coffee and bagels and everyone kept asking me how I was feeling and if I needed anything. This place seemed really fancy and that was something I was not used to. There were very few clients when I first began my journey there. The clients that were there were smiles and happy, but they kept to their rooms most of the time. At first I was cynical; waiting for the other shoe to drop. I could not help but feel like I was in a sham and I was waiting for the smoke and mirrors to fade.

I had my own apartment and was a very lonely person, so every day when I was not attending the groups I would sit in the main tech apartment or as I call it 206 and hang out and talk with the staff. They seemed to know something I did not and I wanted it, I wanted their knowledge and peace of mind. They were not only staff, but they were peers. They did not dictate and scold me, I have been to programs where you would get in serious trouble for minor incidents. Instead they worked with me to let me know my behaviors were not the best and they showed me how to interact with others. Other clients soon began coming out of their rooms more often to pop into the community room. It was then in that room, 206; that I formed some of the strongest relationship I have ever had in my entire life. I had no idea, but the next couple of months would be a roller coaster of emotions. There was joy, anger, and fear; I had experienced life in a new perspective. These strangers grew on me, I should say I grew on them and they turned out to be a wonderful family. I have a loving family at home, but this family is another level: a spiritual and joyous level. We do not all like each other at times, but we always love each other. The universe found a place for me and lo and behold it was that tiny apartment room number 206.

Over the next 10 months I would also get to do activities, I did things like hiking, rafting, bowling, and so much more. I began to find hobbies and interest that I still do. I also found out things I really do not enjoy, like bowling. We went to a lot of social activities, such as dances and I really got to find myself. There was one really awesome activity where we had gone on a cruise around the Hudson and there were so many people on this boat. I mean before I got on, I was suffering from social anxiety and was already over it and then I met Tim. I have to mention Tim because he has been an integral part of my recovery and gave me tips on how to cope while on this cruise or how to deal with people. He actually was not working at Soba, but eventually joined our family. I had many great conversations with Tim in 206. I asked him how he was able to keep peace and how could I achieve that. He told me it is a lot of work, but it will come. I aspire to this day to have a recovery like Tim and many of the other techs at Soba. Even some of the clinicians have helped me tremendously. Though the clinicians were not a part of the living situation, they were the leaders of our groups. There I learned how to take responsibilities for myself and my actions and how to trust and confide in help. They also gave me tools to redirect my thinking when it came to recovery. I also have to say Phil really saved me a lot he was the reason I was able to stay in the program. I could continue to write a different section for everyone in this community because nothing can compare to all the love I have experienced while at Soba.

Honestly I do not know where I would be if it was not for the community of Soba College Recovery Program, but I no longer question it. This family showed me how to trust and believe and really live! Love always and forever!

— Testimonial From Former Client

A Parent’s Story

If you’re on this site looking for help in a dire situation (maybe for yourself or a loved one) you have come to the right place. Let me fill you in on my story!

My son R— is a 23-year-old boy who has been suffering addiction for the past six years. At first, I was in total denial about reality. After his whole mind, body and soul started getting infected by this disease, I had no other choice but to acknowledge his pain and suffering and try to help him out as any mother would. Believe it or not trying to get him into treatment was when my real trouble started! Trying to find a truly caring facility was a downright nightmare and a disaster! So that you understand: my son has been through more than 15 treatment facilities. Here is just a portion of our story:

The first facility that I “chose” for R— was not really my choice. The insurance company dictated where and for how long my son was to go and recover! How sad that day was for me and my family, and also for our son, to learn he only qualified for a five-day detox (which did nothing by the way). When I spoke to the facility, their first question was what kind of insurance do you carry and that we were responsible for everything insurance didn’t cover. I started to shake, cry, and I felt alone with this family disease that I was not prepared for or educated to battle. Now, the first place I took my son wanted money first instead of worrying about my son’s well being.

The addiction continued to grow fast and furiously. R— grew into it. Again, I tried calling every type of facility from New Jersey, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania trying to find an “open bed” that would take him. All the staff cared about was the money and not my son. We sent him to what we thought was a good program in Florida, and after the twenty-eight days of the PHP phase, they put my son in a halfway house that was filthy, dirty, smelled, and–to top it off–was next to a motel where dealers would try to entice him.

After my son relapsed again–because of the poor treatment offered at the facility and their incompetent help–he was told to leave. This literally happened: R— was left on a side of a road in Florida, 1300 miles from home with no food, water, money, shelter or phone to call his family! He wanted recovery, however. So on his own he somehow got another facility to pick him up and house him. R— then was able to contact me. As you could only imagine my concern now was that my son was alone and suffering in this lion’s den of crap!

I called the facility where R— had been told to leave and the director yelled at me and said, “You are R—’s problem, not R—!!!!” After, many unpleasant exchanges of words, I tried to get a hold of my son. The new facility was run by a young man. When I was asking him questions and started interviewing him, I found him not to be trustworthy. Some weeks went by with very little or no communication with Ryan or staff. I began to get very hyper about jumping on a plane and going to Florida to go get him, but I didn’t even know where he was!

Well, my questions were soon answered. My worst fears were realized. A hospital called on my cell phone, but the details were sketchy about what was really happening to Ryan. After a nervous hour went and my entire family broke into tears when we found out R— had overdosed. There were many questions that needed to be answered about how this happened to a young boy supposedly being taken care of at a top notch facility. For instance: Why did the hospital have to take charge and have the responsibility of calling me and not the treatment center?

My phone rang with a boy saying, “Are you R— mother?” “Oh my God, Yes! Who are you?” He told me his name and explained that the DRIVER(!) employed by the new facility (where Ryan was going to be SAFE,) had injected Ryan with too much heroin. R— then fell to the floor and stopped breathing! Now a driver is part of the problem too?!! All of these incompetent facilities should lose their license once and for all. When will this ever end and where are the caring facilities?!

We brought our son home, but still suffering from active addiction. Finally, it happened that I spoke to a good friend of mine whose son was R—‘s friend since he was fifteen and had suffered with the same problem. She told me about a facility called SOBA College Recovery. She gave me the name of a man who ran the facility called Philip Chasin. I spoke with him. He promised to help me. He came immediately to our home with another tech. They came to my house quietly, lovingly and with open hearts and minds. My husband and I felt a great weight lifted off of our family. Phillip asked us to leave the room as he took right over and spoke with R— softly. By the time we were asked to come back into the room, R— began packing his clothes WILLINGLY. (Finally, a well-run program!) As treatment facilities goes, SOBA College Recovery is so loving and caring. It is A TRUE healthy environment for R— (and their other clients) to be in. They offer not only top notch experience, but the treatment is second to none! The structure and counselors that work with the clients and their families, open up a special balance between work, school, home, and family life like NO OTHER treatment facility. SOBA College Recovery has the capability, compassion and commitment that you won’t find anywhere else! Please read and BELIEVE there is an answer to your addiction. It’s called, “SOBA College Recovery.” R— is clean and sober. He has the light back in him and it is shining brighter than ever! He is back to furthering his education and working! My son again is smiling, optimistic, happy and healthy! We are ALL a healthy family once more!

Thank you SOBA College Recovery and Staff!

From Relapse To Recovery

Before beginning my journey with Soba college recovery, I was a broken soul. Until my arrival at the program in early June of 2015, I had been using heroin for almost 10 years with no hope of ever stopping. I had destroyed almost any friendship, burned bridges with employers, completely lost any and all trust of my family, and had lost the desire to continue on living. Little did I know my life was going to take a complete 180.

I had been to treatment before, about 15 to be exact. I had come out of all these thirty day programs with a renewed desire to stay clean. A brand new fire was lit within me, but for whatever reason I found myself with a needle in my arm wondering “how did I get here again?” I was skeptical that college recovery would bear a different result.
I was greeted with love, compassion, understanding, and patience by the staff. In the beginning I attended 25 hours of IOP weekly. Even after having been to 15 other rehabs, there was new and important information I was able to absorb from these groups. I was someone who needed to learn how to live like an adult. Although my birth certificate would say I was 21 at the time, my life skills would have showed a different number. I really grew up within this program.

Within a few months I got a job. I began to balance IOP, my job, and I even started to take a few classes at the local community college. I had previously been a college dropout. The model of this program allows for a smooth transition back into society. With the right amount of accountability through IOP, daily breathalyzer tests, and tri-weekly drug testing. We were also required to attend a 12 step program of our choosing. This is where I really found the solution to my spiritual void.
After 11 months in this program, and getting ready to move out, something amazing happened. I was asked to be an employee by the owner. I obviously took the job. I wouldn’t have wanted to do anything else at the time then to give back to the program that saved my life. I know the importance of staying involved as well.
I’ve been working for the company now for about 5 and 1/2 months, and I couldn’t be happier. Now I see things from the other side. All of the techs and staff on clinical show an unparalleled love for clients I haven’t found anywhere else. There’s also another client who has become a staff member in recent months. If that doesn’t illustrate hope, I don’t know what does.

This program saved my life. I truly believe we are onto something here. A new and more effective model of treatment. Everyone here just wants to help each other and see the struggling newcomer have a chance at a beautiful life. I’m a result of this love. Thanks for reading
— Testimonial From Former Client

Coming Home

We all just want to go home. I used to think home was where I grew up, or the address on my mail. But now I know, home is a feeling. It is where I feel safe, and loved, and at peace.

When I heard the word rehab, I pictured sterile walls, fluorescent lights, and socks with little rubber footprints on the bottom. This image is so far from what College Recovery is, I literally didn’t recognize it when I saw it. The van from my detox dropped me off in the parking lot of 104 Bayard in New Brunswick, just blocks away from where I lived. Not recognizing a “rehab” I turned around to leave, because I thought I was going home. I am grateful that I returned, because Morrell and Winston House have become my safe space and a new home for me.

College Recovery has opened up a new world that was all around me in New Brunswick. What once seemed like a seedy crime hotspot, is now to me a sort of Pleasantville. I was able to build a network both inside and outside the program that I rely on today. Everywhere I go in this city, I see someone from the rooms, and I know that without College Recovery I would never have been able to form this network of support.

I was able to transition back into normal life, and do things I never thought I would do. I returned to school, recovered my GPA, got a job I like that is recovery oriented, got a car, got a sponsor, landed an internship. There was plenty of room and structure for me to make decisions to improve my own life and to succeed.
The techs were a vital part of my treatment process. The constant love and attention that surrounds the clients is incredible. It is nothing like the sterile, hospital-like environment I feared it would be. It is warm and full of laughter. And even when someone is struggling and they can’t find joy, they can find comfort and plenty of hugs.

Employee Testimonials

Ashley, Client Liaison

Even before beginning my own personal journey and experience with SOBA College Recovery, I knew of it’s existence and its success in helping so many young people. As I began the process of joining the SOBA College Recovery team, I knew immediately I was making the right decision. Not only were my fellow staff members welcoming and helpful, but their true desire to help the clientele radiated off of each and every one of them. It was very refreshing to know I’d be working with like-minded people that hold extreme pride in their positions here.

The clients here are given amazing tools and opportunities that prior to joining SOBA, I did not know existed. Ranging from therapy to assistance in job and education placement all the way to providing a safe and well-rounded schedule and a warm and welcoming living environment; a new world of opportunity and possibility is what is provided to our clientele. The life skills taught here are a huge part in what allows these individuals to not only recover but to become active, productive, and positive members of society.

Being a Client Liaison holds major value to me as we are who the clients have the most contact with. This gives me great pride in my work along with along with allowing me to know I have a great responsibility to be a power of example.

I wake up daily looking forward to working with the clients and staff that I have the honor of being with on a regular basis.

I do genuinely believe that SOBA College Recovery is the future of Recovery/transitional living/Drug rehabilitation… and that future looks very bright.

Corey, Client Liaison

SOBA College Recovery makes my job as a Client Liaison an easy one. The ease and efficiency abundant in our working atmosphere comes from integrated multi-level staff communication. When I’m working with our clients face-to-face and involved in their day-to-day lives, I have the support of other Client Liaisons whom work competent and stable programs of recovery. Each time I clock in I know I have on-call supervisors whom pay close attention to the pulse of clients’ and employees’ needs alike. Additionally, the clinical staff I’m in touch with, i.e. CADCs, CSWs, our in-house psychiatrist, etc., are qualified, available, and respected. The synergistic result from our team’s combined efforts is simple: we build a strong foundation of resources for our clients to better maintain their long-term sobriety.

Working with clients actively engaged in a program of recovery means I don’t have to expect conflicts when I’m on the job. There are surprisingly few beefs, fisticuffs, and relapses considering the College Recovery luxury apartments are filled with (mostly) 20-somethings trying to stop using hard drugs. When the majority of our clients are active in their recoveries, I don’t have to expect any unwanted surprises when my fellow co-workers and I conduct our daily room searches. That said, we are prepared for those unwanted surprises. The potential for surprises is exactly why we on College Recovery’s residential, clinical, and supervisory fronts are extremely diligent in the first place.

The safety of our community is paramount. SOBA College Recovery’s emphasis on recovery as a channel to successful transitional living is what protects our community’s safety. I love to hear clients’ progress in our weekly staff meetings. Clients who put work towards their recovery prosper. It’s undeniable how much happier the clients who have sponsors, write on the Twelve Steps, and attend at least three Twelve Step meetings a week are when placed next to clients who aren’t participating in their own recovery. There’s more magic to be found in the College Recovery community’s implicit accountability. The clients live together. Their proximity means they can’t avoid daily interactions with people in recovery. Therefore, when a client is restless, irritable, and/or discontent (traditional signs of emotional turbulence) there are clients and staff ready to come to the ailing client’s aid. Whether that aid arrives in the form of hugs, supportive words, or a proclamation of much-needed but hard truth is determined on a situational basis.

All in all, College Recovery puts recovery first, even though ‘recovery’ is the second word in our company name. Our priorities are in order when it comes to our clients. That’s the essence of how College Recovery makes my job as a housing technician as easy as it can be.

(Necessary post-blurb note: Clients who do not work the Twelve Steps on a consistent basis or do not find an alternative recovery program like Smart Recovery do, in our experience, end up drunk or high. We cannot guarantee any client’s long-term sobriety. A client’s decision(s) to participate or not participate in their recovery is their own. The benefits or consequences of their decision(s) will be their own as well.)

Tim, Client Liaison

I began working at SOBA College Recovery in July of 2015. Being one of the first full time employees to work at SOBA I have witnessed our growth and impact first hand. I have watched many of our clients go through the early stages of recovery and go on to become integral parts of the broader recovery community. One of the biggest concerns these young adults have when they first arrive is worrying about their future. In addition to learning to live sober, some have the added worry of missing out on school, family or work. We really try to instill in them they are indeed working towards better relationships with all of those responsibilities. Taking some time away from those very responsibilities to focus on recovery gives them the solid foundation they need to build productive, whole lives.

I have never worked with such an incredible team of devoted and caring people. We are deeply involved in caring for these individuals. The majority of the support staff are in recovery ourselves and we know what they are going through. We are uniquely qualified to offer the necessary empathy addicts need to recover. We are heavily involved in all of their activities and we try to make things as fun and light as possible. When they move over to the apartments after 30 days, we remain deeply invested in helping them grow while they experience more freedom. We really are very lucky to have the staff that we do. I have never been to a rehab myself, but from what the clients tell me, this is the best place they have ever been.

On a more personal note, I received an award from the leadership at SOBA during our first graduation ceremony. It was a humbling and gratifying moment for me. My own story with addiction lasted 20 years and my bottom was a frightening experience. If not for the rooms of recovery I never would have made it this far. My life has continued to get better on a regular basis. They often say that addiction is a progressive and fatal disease, but the opposite can be said for recovery. Recovery is progressive and life giving. As my life has improved I have shared these moments of inspiration with the clients, and in turn I have been inspired by them. To watch these young adults grow into functional, healthy and productive members of society gives me the greatest joy.

I am incredibly grateful I get to be a part of this community. Some of our former clients are now part of our staff, bringing the vision full circle. The growth I have seen in these individuals is nothing short of amazing. Some of our other graduates have gone on to do amazing things in their careers and education. Many of our alumni stay in constant contact with us. They give back to SOBA and they remain part of the community, helping to integrate other clients with the broader recovery community.

This is the best job I have ever had.