Alex Zemeckis Pays it Forward at Santa Barbara Middle School

Are you smarter than an 8th grader? Definitely not!

Before school ended, I had the opportunity to speak with the 8th & 9th-grade classes at Santa Barbara Middle School. “My talk”, is my story growing up with drugs & alcohol combined with an interactive discussion regarding all types of addictions & addictive behavior. I let the students facilitate the group; engaging each other in a safe, supportive manner. I’m always amazed at how knowledgeable on this subject they are.

Year after year, I’m reminded that these kids know so much more than me. Time & time again I’ve heard parents, teachers, clinicians, “adults” in general talk about how kids “know everything”. That’s nothing new, we’ve all had that discussion and we’ve all been that adolescent that knows way more than our parents- right? It’s the natural cycle. But, it scares us that on this subject, maybe they do know it all.  In my opinion, we often discuss this topic from a place of FEAR.  Why are we so terrified that kids know more than we do about tough issues & how can we keep up??? OMG! That’s just it. We will never keep up.  We need to try to say educated yet surrender to the fact that we may never get ahead. How could we keep up with new synthetic drugs on the market, Craigslist code names/aliases to score drugs, etc.?  We can’t.  What we can do is share our experience, stay aware and take action when necessary.  Most of all, we need to keep talking about it so they know it’s safe and ok to not have all of the answers.
Every year going into my presentation I think to myself, “What are these kids going to learn from me? How is a 31-year-old relatable to a 13 & 14-year-old? They’re not going to take me seriously!” But then 2 weeks later, I start getting these amazing handwritten letters from students. Not only thanking me but sharing their personal experiences with an older brother, a cousin, mom or dad, etc. Often, seeking guidance, suggestions & advice.  Showing clearly that they are in the thick of it and that this problem is definitely not going away.      That’s when I know I’ve connected.

Celebrating Earth Day

The Grounds members celebrated Earth Day this year by joining over 100 local citizens in cleaning up trash-ridden homeless camps along several of San Diego’s arroyos & riverbeds.  Offering the important parallel messages of the importance of keeping our water sources clean and gratitude, it was a clear reminder of the often results of untreated mental illness and heavily progressed substance abuse.  It was humbling and eye-opening for all.

The Grounds requires all members gain employment and work 30+ hours per week along with their multiple clinical commitments and programmatic responsibilities.  Even still, service is a foundational value and significant priority.  We believe that there is no better feeling than getting outside of oneself- not a typical default behavior for most of us.

We hope you were able to participate in giving back to our planet in your own way within your community.

The Grounds Recovery and the Feds Fight Addiction Together!

June 14, 2016 – San Diego DEA Headquarters

Panel Discussion Regarding Opioid Addiction Epidemic

Featured Speaker- Cannon Kristofferson- The Grounds Recovery

The San Diego DEA headquarters hosted an essential event focusing on the nation’s opioid epidemic. The featured speaker was Cannon Kristofferson, Program Director at The Grounds Recovery. Cannon shared his experience of treating addicts in recovery and the importance of addressing opioid addiction on a grand scale. Along with an esteemed panel of Special Agents, Medical Examiners and other officials, the opioid addiction problem being faced by every community in the United States was discussed. The Feds are acknowledging this problem as a National State of Emergency. People from all walks of life are dying and we all need to be educated about the relation and progression from pharmaceutical opioids to IV heroin usage. The Grounds Recovery is honored the DEA invited us to be part of such an important discussion. We continue to focus our contribution on recovering young adult males in need of transitional living, vocational experience and clinical supports.