Andy Silvagni and the APN Lodge Alumni Program
So I'm born and raised in New Jersey and went to a small school called Montclair State University and decided to get into the teaching and education role and in coaching, and even though it was my "dream job" life wasn't very fulfilling. I was still searching for something and I had "everything I wanted" externally, but was still empty inside. So I turned to gambling and drugs and alcohol, and that led me down a pretty dark path, and I ended up going into treatment in 2014, and then treatment led me into 12 step recovery and then working on some mental health stuff with the clinician, and now life has been crazy. So I got sober in 2014 and now I got into the substance abuse mental health field in 2015, and I've been doing that ever since. I'm in a new role now learning to grow and support our clients through our alumni programming.
What our clients actually receive through this alumni program is that they're going to get, right when they leave the first month or two, they'll get a call about once a week with support. They'll get an alumni Zoom meeting that we do once a week, and that'll vary on topics. It's a support group for mental health and substance, and we'll have anywhere from 10 clients to 30 clients now that have attended that meeting on a weekly basis. We do sober activities such as going to concerts and going to football games and tailgates, and being able to do these fun activities, but from a sobriety point of view, and realizing that you're not the only person at a concert that's sober and how do I remember the concert and be at the concert or the football game? So we want to be able to give our clients activities, not just these phone calls. We want to support them, but we want to give them an outlet into having fun in sobriety.
That's always the big question, how do I have fun? How do I go on a first date and be sober? How do I go to a football game? How do I go to a basketball game? How do I play a round of golf and not drink or not use a substance or any kind of avenue, not gamble on something? To teach our clients how to do that and navigate through that, we want to be able to help through that process, whether that's just supporting them or giving them literature to read or somebody to talk to, or any suggestion to support that. Because then we realize that we can have fun doing these things and the sky's the limit and we remember these events and we're actually present and it's so much more important and it just lasts longer because we're in the moment.