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Addiction Makes You Sick, Not Flawed

By General

Addiction is an insidious disease that makes people stay in the same cycle for months and even years. One of the reasons addiction is so difficult to overcome is due to the low levels of self-esteem and self-worth that accompanies it. During active addiction, a person is a mere shadow of who they once were or who they could possibly be. As they chase getting drunk or high by any means necessary, they may lie, cheat, and steal from the people they care about the most. As a result of the guilt the person feels, they may try to cope by drinking and using more, thus starting the cycle all over again. Understanding that addiction is a disease is crucial in helping someone you or someone you know get and stay sober.

The Disease of Addiction

Addiction is the only disease out there that makes a person delusional in thinking that nothing is wrong. This is one of the reasons that it’s hard for a person to seek help. Addiction takes over the survival part of the brain, so drinking or using drugs comes above friends, family, finances, career, and everything else worthwhile in life. With years of addiction research, we now understand that the brain of someone with an addiction is biologically different than the average person. Although some people abuse substances to the point of addiction, others were genetically predisposed to developing some sort of addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping or sex.

It’s crucial to understand the biological aspect of addiction because it means that people with addictions are suffering from a sickness, and they aren’t morally flawed. Unfortunately, the disease of addiction causes a lot of immoral behavior, which makes it hard for a person to love themselves because they think they’re just a bad person. But for a moment, think of someone with Alzheimer’s disease. Would you get angry at them for having a sickness? Or would you care for them and offer them compassion? This is how people can start developing compassion for the addict in their life as well as how people with addiction can start developing compassion for themselves.

The Debate

One of the reasons that people debate the disease model of addiction is because they believe that it lets the person “off the hook”, but this isn’t the case. When a person goes through treatment, sober living, or 12-step programs, they work on themselves. They start to recognize their defects of character, and they learn healthy coping skills to gradually become the best version of themself. Much like cancer, addiction is a disease that can go into remission and stay gone forever, but for those in recovery, it involves continued self-reflection and work to stay sober and lead a better life.

Learning to Forgive Yourself

As time goes on in sobriety, some people struggle with forgiving themselves, and this is why staying involved in recovery is so important. Those who go through sober living or 12-step programs start to see the value of being of service. By helping others, you’re able to fight the voices in your head that say that you’re not a good person because you’re continually putting good into the world. This is one of the primary reasons why people in recovery end up running sober living homes, becoming 12-step sponsors, or working at treatment facilities, and you can too.

If you’re sick and tired of living the way you’re living, Hansen Foundation can help, so call us today at 609-270-4443.

A Holistic Approach to Wellness

By General

Currently, there’s a massive addiction epidemic in the United States, and it’s affected many lives in New Jersey. Not only do thousands of people die each year from drug- and alcohol-related deaths, but each death leaves family members grieving. For those who have a loved one with an addiction, it’s terrifying awaiting the day when you may get that call. If you’re tired of having your loved ones worry about you because of your addiction, detox is the first step in recovery, and a New Jersey holistic detox may be the right choice for you.

Why a Holistic Detox?

When people think of addiction, it’s common to think of illicit drugs like heroin, cocaine, and meth, but prescription medications are a massive issue. Each year, more people become addicted or die from prescription medications than drugs like heroin and cocaine combined. Medications such as prescription opioids and benzodiazepines can be extremely addictive, and they can take control over a person’s life. This is why it’s important to consider a holistic detox when you’re ready to get sober.

There are many detox centers that focus on Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT), which uses a variety of medications to help you quit using drugs. Although many are safe and monitored by a medical staff, some of them can become addictive. For example, some people become addicted to the medication Suboxone, which is used to help people come off of drugs like heroin or prescription opioids. By going to a holistic detox facility in New Jersey, you can find natural ways to recover.

What Happens at a Holistic Detox?

One of the biggest misconceptions about holistic detox facilities is that they have no medical staff, but this isn’t the case. Holistic detox facilities have medical professionals to ensure that you’re safe and healthy throughout the detox process. When you enter, you’ll go through a full physical and psychological evaluation. If you have underlying medical issues or medical issues as a result of your addiction, medications may be used, but it’s minimal. But when it comes to coming off of the drugs or alcohol safely and comfortably, you’ll find that there are many methods that can be used that don’t involve potentially addictive medications.

Science Backs Holistic Detox

Another myth about detox is that it’s not scientific. The reality is that holistic detox facilities are fully accredited, which means they use evidence-based methods. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself with the right practices like yoga, exercise, meditation, and more. There are also a wide range of natural ways to get through detox with nutritious foods and taking care of your body in other ways. You’ll learn ways to decrease cravings as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. The best part is that many of these strategies can also help keep you sober after detox is complete.

If you’re ready to get sober, The Hansen Foundation is here to help. We’re aligned with holistic detox programs like Enlightened Solutions Detox, and we also offer sober living and rehabilitation treatment. To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one, call us today at 609-270-4443.

The Multiple Epidemics of 2020

By News
The US is batting multiple epidemics – COVID19 and the epidemics of substance use disorder and mental health – both on the rise since the start of the pandemic. As a country, America is facing the potential for catastrophic damage to those not only in substance use recovery but those who are using substances to cope with mental health issues. The Hansen Foundation remains focused on our mission of helping those in substance use recovery. We continue to provide affordable, long-term safe recovery residences, access to treatment, community programs, and the tools needed to lead healthy productive lives for people in recovery. 
Stress among Americans has skyrocketed during the Pandemic. COVID-19 has resulted in increased reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder since May 2020 by over 25% compared to the same time period in 2019.  A recent study by the CDC found that 13.3% of adults reported new or increased substance use as a way to manage stress due to the coronavirus and 10.7% of adults reported thoughts of suicide in the past 30 days. There is no question COVID-19 is escalating substance use, creating roadblocks for those in recovery and therefore, increasing the epidemic of addiction.
• Online sales for alcohol increased 243% since states started to quarantine in March. 
• Spirit sales have increased by 75%, beer sales by 66% and wine sales by 42 % compared to the same time period in 2019.
• With the reduction in exports and new travel restrictions, drug cartels are being stymied by reductions in substance supply leading to the use of synthetic or varied potency in drugs leading to overdoses.
• Experts are also concerned that users of illegal drugs could be stockpiling drugs leading to riskier behavior resulting in overdoses and death.
• Reduced recovery support meetings and structure during this time can create feelings of isolation and emotional stress for those in
recovery. Relapse, overdose and death are right around the corner.
COVID-19 has presented many challenges for The Hansen Foundation residents. Almost all of our residents were out of work or continue to struggle finding long-term consistent employment.  Some residents did not qualify for government subsidies or unemployment. Social distancing has significantly reduced recovery meetings and some recoverees struggle with online meetings. Reduced recovery support and structure can create feelings of isolation and emotional stress for those in recovery. These feelings can be triggers for relapse as well as for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. 
In a paralyzing, fearful time for many residents, our team of staff members continues to provide mental and emotional support to residents while teaching that hardship can be navigated with determination, commitment to recovery and finding joy in moments of crisis. To help our residents continue on their path to recovery during COVID-19, The Hansen Foundation’s team is:
• Bringing 12-step and Refuge Recovery meetings to recovery houses to maintain recovery programs.
• Giving support to residents with quarantine house events to create a level of social connectedness.
• Providing food accompanied by healthy recipes and cooking instruction. For some residents, food money is non-existent at this time, so supplemental meals are appreciated.
• Working with clients on flexible payment arrangements knowing we will have to absorb the shortfall.
• Providing an opportunity for individuals to regain employment with stable income through job skill training through a variety of programs for those new in recovery and in sober living.
• Recovery Construction – A progressive and individualized program of construction related skill acquisition. Participants learn accountability, teamwork, as well as skill acquisition in focused construction areas and project management. Individuals develop personal interests in the construction field; eventually moving on to full time work within a specialized trade including union placement.
• Solid Roots Employment Program- Enlightened Farm: A transitional employment and mentorship program for individuals new in recovery to gain hands-on experience at Enlightened Farm. Participants learn fellowship, job training, and skills in environmental stewardship while in
sober living.
• Enlightened Café – A job training program focused on developing food preparation and hospitality-based skills.  Participants learn food preparation and safety, cooking and restaurant operations as well as customer service,
problem-solving, communication, organizational and
teamwork skills. 

We know that the commitment of the United States and the international medical and pharmaceutical companies will lead to a resolution to the COVID-19 pandemic. What we don’t know is how many lives will be altered and lost by substance use disorder when that resolution comes. 
Through support in the past, we have provided Resident Scholarships and supplemental needs for our life-saving endeavors…through our Recovery Residences, Enlightened Farm and Enlightened Café.  The mission of The Hansen Foundation is a personal one for our family and thus, we remain committed to helping others during this unprecedented time as well as today, tomorrow and beyond.

OceanFirst Foundation Continues Commitment to the Hansen Foundation

By News
OceanFirst Foundation has continued their financial commitment to The Hansen Foundation with the second grant award payment in November of $25,000, part of a total grant award of $75,000 over three years. In 2019, OceanFirst Foundation awarded this Major Grant Award to The Hansen Foundation to renovate a property to be used for Recovery Residences called Serenity Houses. The purpose of this project is to provide additional, safe, supportive recovery housing for people suffering from substance use disorder.

 The Recovery Residence project included structural changes, a complete remake of all bathrooms, laundry facilities, plumbing, electrical and HVAC requirements, flooring, drywall and painting throughout.  It opened on June 1, 2019 to female residents based on census needs at the time. Since opening, we have housed approximately 38 women within the ages of 18-25 at this location on their road to recovery.  The average length of stay in our housing is typically 6 -18 months. Our support staff and house managers help our residents learn how to live in our community, work, get their lives (back) in order after treatment. Many residents do not have insurance and if they did, it does not cover housing. So even our low fee of $180.00 per week is not possible without an entry subsidy boost from our scholarship funds for the first month.

 As you can see on the following page, the renovation of the house is transformative….much like our residents as they attain recovery.  At the Hansen Foundation we create safe, affordable, well-designed recovery residences that support every aspect of healing and maintaining sobriety.   There is a correlation between having a holistic home environment and staying sober.  It is the mission of CEO Jennifer Hansen to ensure that everyone that comes into our residences is provided with a strong foundation to build a substance-free life.  When residents live in a space of aesthetic value, they soon learn to value their self-worth.

Hansen believes in revitalizing the community whenever possible, using existing structures as well as repurposing building materials. To carry out the organization’s sustainability model, Hansen focuses on bringing “old buildings back to life at the same time giving residents a chance at life in recovery through employment and recovery skills training.
OceanFirst’s generous gift to support an additional recovery house could not have come at a more critical time. The year 2020 brought us COVID-19 and studies have shown that drug and alcohol abuse and relapses increased as a result of the virus.  What a gift it was to provide additional safe, clean and affordable long-term recovery housing to residents during the most pressing epidemic of our time.  Each changed life is a miracle and we are happy to have assisted by partnering with OceanFirst to bring about the change.
OceanFirst’s generous gift to support an additional recovery house could not have come at a more critical time. The year 2020 brought us COVID-19 and studies have shown that drug and alcohol abuse and relapses increased as a result of the virus.  What a gift it was to provide additional safe, clean and affordable long-term recovery housing to residents during the most pressing epidemic of our time.  Each changed life is a miracle and we are happy to have assisted by partnering with OceanFirst to bring about the change.

Alumni Impact

By News

In our recovery residences, called Serenity Houses, our support staff and house managers help our residents learn how to live in RECOVERY by helping addicts participate in their community, work, advocate through legal problems, promote healthy and sustainable life choices, reunite with their loved ones and get their lives back in order. Our recovery residence alumni share first-hand how Serenity House has impacted their road to RECOVERY.


I’m the oldest of three. My childhood was good, I was taught right from wrong. I played sports, I got good grades, and everything was pretty normal. Eighth grade was the first time that I tried marijuana. I tried it to fit in and to be seen as cool. Eventually, I tried alcohol and I really liked the affect produced by substances. It got to a point where all other things went out the window as far as sports, my grades, and my family life. I was consumed by drinking and using. When I was 19, my addiction to opiates had gotten so bad that I went to my first rehab. From the age of 19 to the age of 26, I went to three more detoxes and four more treatment centers. Some were long-term and some were short-term. I moved states, I tried changing my friend group, and nothing worked for me. Every time I got out of treatment, I would go home to the same living environment which was toxic for me and my recovery. I was homeless at one point in Camden. I lost my child through DC PNP system. I did an extended stay in jail. My life got unmanageable. When I was 26 years old, I hit bottom emotionally and knew that I needed to find a different way to live. That is when I made a decision to really try to get sober. Not for my family, not for the courts, not for any outside influence… this time it was truly something that I wanted for myself. – Nicole B.


I learned a lot of patience and tolerance.  I was one of the older women in the house and I came from being a mother and wanted to do things for everyone. I realized that that’s not what to do.  I had to learn to be accountable and be responsible for my own things. I also learned that I have to be selfish at times and worry about myself, put myself first to stay well. I also learned how to pay bills on time. I always paid you know, but it was robbing Peter to pay Paul. I learned how to pay bills, make my bed in the morning,  simple things that we don’t think that you’re supposed to do.  I learned to get out of bed, just be active and work a program honestly with accountability.  – Shane R.


Now I love being part of a 12-step program and carrying the message. I was driving over and thinking why did I get this chance? I was chosen to carry this message…. bottom line. I really enjoy being a part of Enlightened and the recovery community. I do all the things I used to love to do that I couldn’t do because I was always too high or too drunk. I surf all the time, I walk my dog, I clean my house, I pay my bills. I love paying my bills. That’s one of my favorite things in the world because I have money now.
Not a lot, it all goes to bills, but I am happy to pay my bills. Greatest life I have ever known. – Steve M.


Today I am motivated by my desire to just live life and to be happy, joyous, and free. I have to remember that I didn’t get clean to be miserable. I am very motivated by trying to be a better person.  – C.C.


It’s probably one of your best options to stay clean. They set you up with the tools and everything in life that you would need. For example, they help you if you are trying to find a job, or typing a resume. If you don’t know where to apply, they will help you find those places; if you don’t know how to schedule a doctor appointment they will help you do that too. You need accountability. Every little aspect of staying clean falls into place. I feel like the staff are very caring and I am not just saying that because I’m a staff member now.  People care… from Jennifer Hansen down. – Erin B.


I would tell them to give it a chance. I was so against coming in and if it weren’t for my house managers and the support of the women I lived with, I do not think I would have made it through early recovery. The staff go to bat for you every single time. The house manager Melissa took me to court to help me sort out all of the warrants I had. She also sat down with my daughter’s father to help us create a plan for our daughter and our time with her. That way, we didn’t have to go through the court system. – Taylor J.


It has been five years since I got sober and my life has come such a long way.  Five years from now I would like to finish my undergraduate degree and attain a Masters Degree in social work. I’d like to be working in the recovery field helping others. I would like to be a strong Mom and woman continuing to live this beautiful life that has been afforded. – Nicole B.

The Hansen Foundation, Inc.
4 E. Jimmie Leeds Road
Galloway, NJ 08205
Phone: 609.270.4443

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