Not everyone has a problem with addiction to drugs, alcohol or another life disturbing disorder that may lead to death, but not one person can say that they have not had some sort of compulsion or health issue during their lifetime. The hustle and bustle of living day to day gets to everyone at some point in their life no matter how old, how young or how rich or poor. No one knows what the next moment holds but everyone has the chance to take control of their life and destiny even if they may feel that there is nowhere to go.
The Dunes is a safe haven to escape to when life’s lights dim
Most should be able to relate to a moment of depression or struggling that goes with living life. Those of us without severe addiction or psychological issues can manage to make it through rough patches with just some optimism and friendship. Luckily there are people and places to assist with helping when all else looks dark and dismal. The Dunes of East Hampton specializes in providing a peaceful respite to rehabilitate ones ills and needs.
The coziness and comfort greets one as they enter the well hidden grounds that The Dunes reside on. As soon as you walk through the front door the scents of home and friendliness engulfs one in a safe haven. The warm Adele Macmillan, The Dunes Clinical Director, welcomed me in and enthusiastically guided me on a tour while explaining how they work with clients in this wonderful home setting providing holistic help and guidance. Privacy is very important so while I was there they had sent the home’s present guests on an equine therapy visit.
The décor speaks calmness and nature providing a nurturing and healing environment.
Upon walking into the home that houses the inpatient care at The Dunes, one feels the good karma that the open floor plan provides. A welcoming dining area is flanked by a well-appointed country kitchen and a wonderful living room complete with a guitar and keyboard. The Dunes private chef is at the helm in the kitchen providing home cooked scents of goodness. The home sits around the private outdoor pool and gathering areas. We walk through an open room that is used for everything from yoga to art therapy and ping pong. Upstairs are guest rooms with welcoming bedding and beautiful bathrooms and sitting areas that are most friendly to all.
Colors throughout the home bring in the calmness of nature in soft hues of browns, tans, whites and beiges. One room sparkled like the sun with warm touches of coral. Macmillan is a very nurturing soul as she explains during the tour how The Dunes works holistically to help change the dangerous behaviors, such as severe alcoholism, drug addiction and co-occurring disorders, for its clients.
We finished the tour in the cozy den that sits next to the entry where Joe McKinsey, the Founder and CEO and Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D., LCSW-R, Executive Director met me. I was fortunate to have a comfortable sit down to speak with McKinsey and Dr. Kardaras. The Dunes is McKinsey’s child and his way of giving back thanks for his own recovery by helping others. He explained that he got sober in a hospital setting and the day he left was the “worse day ever”. After looking at 50 places he walked into the home that now houses The Dunes and felt it “had the right vibe” and fit his vision.
The Dunes works to change harmful behaviors into meaningful ones.
As McKinsey puts it “There is no cure, but there is a solution”. In order to get better, one has to accept their addiction. McKinsey has replaced his once dangerous addictive behaviors into an addiction of helping and watching someone else get better stating “A person must align their life with something meaningful” adding “Most people don’t know how to be honest with themselves, they must focus on discomfort with the issue that causes their addiction in order to manage a change in lifestyle.” Dr. Kardaras adds “You have to put out the fire and then rekindle the spark for life.”
The Dunes provides a therapeutic environment by a wonderful staff of professionals to encourage clients to tell the truth to themselves and others regarding their harmful actions. It is truly a homey environment with the most visitors they have staying at one time is a group of ten, although usually it is more like a group of 7 or 8. The Dunes works on clearing out ones’ body and switching the energy from addiction to a healthy outlet. Along with 12 step programs and therapy everyone seeking help at The Dunes is given choices of holistic outlets to promote healthy behaviors. A local artist comes to provide art classes. Along with talk therapy, outlets of music, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, nature walks, equine therapy and exercise are among activities introduced to encourage one to change from unhealthy behavioral patterns to healthy ones. The evening is left to guests relaxing and discussing life as new bonds and friendships are formed.
McKinsey acknowledges from his own experiences “Addicts are one huge mess and professional disappointers”. With the knowledge that addicts live with a false belief system and a wall of denial, always blaming others, McKinsey understands that rehabilitation is a gentle process that needs time to take place. Dr. Kardaras speaks of “The perfect storm” that can create the addictive behavior. Those who may be predisposed to the harmful addictive behaviors are then impacted by their environment. It is important to give everyone a choice of outlet in order to find the one thing that can cause a mental change.
The Dunes acknowledges the “creatures of habit” behavior and the difficult task of teaching about changing consequences. A lovely and comforting therapeutic environment within The Dunes’ home is provided so that people must focus on telling the truth and the discomfort of what issues have caused their addictive behavior. McKinsey specifically says how proud he is of someone when he sees them starting to show concern for someone other than themselves, “It is a big breakthrough moment when one can start the buildup of recovery”.
In a world where empty promises of help abound, we are lucky that people like McKinsey have the vision and abilities to pay life forward to help save others dealing with life’s harmful pain and struggles. Understanding the prohibitive costs of rehab McKinsey continues his quest to help as many as he can get healthy through providing scholarships to The Dunes providing “If I won the lottery I would give free treatment to everyone.”
Win at the game of life; never be afraid to dance!
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