Avisa Recovery

Avisa

Get to Know Our Founder - Dan Regan

Daniel Regan

Chief Executive Officer

As CEO, his mission is simple, to bring the sense of community and support he experienced to others who need it. 

Meet Our Founder - Dan Regan

About Dan

Daniel Regan, also known as ‘The Recovery Gandhi’ among his coworkers, has completely changed how we approach mental health and substance abuse recovery. When the usual methods let him down, Daniel, along with his mother Lynn, worked tirelessly to establish a system of support that everyone could afford. Daniel is a firm believer in ongoing aftercare, help from both peers and professionals, holistic therapies, personalized treatment, motivating others with his enthusiasm, and offering various routes to achieve recovery.

My Story & Vision

Meet Dan Regan

“Waking up for a few sober minutes, face wet, embedded on a dirt-ridden floor, in this abandoned motel in the middle of palm springs…I was crying in my sleep.  I needed to run from myself, instead, I reached for another needle….internal combustible self-hatred. If I remained sober for too many minutes I would have to realize where I was and what I had become.” – Daniel Regan, Founder

Before Recovery

After Recovery

I belong to a wonderful family. They’re really there for me, caring and joyful. Both my parents and grandparents have been married for more than 30 years. I had a fantastic childhood. My parents were constantly by my side, involved in everything I did. I grew up on a lovely farm in Monmouth County. They always warned me against using drugs, explaining how harmful they are. They made it clear that if I ever tried drugs, it could be life-threatening.

In 6th grade, my older brother offered me marijuana. He wasn’t a stranger or a bad person, just someone I knew well. Even though I was scared, he reassured me that nothing bad would occur. I saw him and his friends enjoying themselves, which made me curious. Since I trusted my brother, I decided to give it a try. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. This experience made me question what my parents had told me about drugs not being enjoyable.

I started smoking marijuana initially once a week, then on weekends, and eventually every day. I believed I was really cool, and my school friends were highly interested in my actions and words. I gained popularity in my new circle. I excelled in my studies, joined the swim team, and confidently made my own choices. I thought, “It’s my life, I’ll handle it,” with a smirk. The media influenced me, making the gangster/rapper lifestyle appear appealing. I wanted my life to be like an MTV video. When my brother returned from college, he had been partying heavily. I caught him with his friends, using cocaine. Despite only sticking to marijuana, I refused at first, saying, “I don’t do those kinds of drugs!” Eventually, he persuaded me to try it. So, I gave it a shot… and once again, I enjoyed it!

My view of drugs shifted even further… I saw all types of drugs as possibilities. I was curious about trying various different mind-altered states and mixing substances. I wasn’t addicted yet, but I was definitely misusing drugs, even though I was just 16 years old. Time passed, and then I reached college. I received a scholarship to go to Farleigh Dickinson University. My parents felt proud and accompanied me on visits to the campus, helped me settle into my dorm room. They had aspirations of me getting an education and fully enjoying the college journey, with high hopes for what lay ahead. However, my perspective was already distorted, and I saw college as a massive party.

During my first year at FDU, I got introduced to oxycontin. In just three months, I found myself snorting 13 pills every day, spending $350 to support this habit. When I returned home for Easter Break, I agreed to take my little sister to the mall, mainly to avoid being at home. While my mom was preparing a family dinner and expecting me back, I left the mall but got pulled over by the police. They searched my car, still filled with my dorm room belongings, and discovered 200 oxycontin pills, a few thousand dollars, and a list of people who owed me money. I was arrested and handcuffed. My immediate concern was how to get out of this situation so I could continue using drugs. To cooperate with the police, I provided them with a list of doctors and dealers involved in supplying oxycontin. Eventually, they let me go, and I returned home, although I was late for dinner. I made up an excuse about talking to an old friend. 

Now I faced a serious dilemma. With a 13-pill-a-day habit and having turned in my drug sources, I couldn’t rely on them anymore. I started experiencing physical symptoms like bone aches, sweating, and restless skin. It became clear that I needed to resort to theft to maintain my drug use. It’s quite ironic, isn’t it? My thoughts were twisted and illogical. I realized that I needed to quit drugs in order to recover my well-being…

My mom and dad started noticing my sneaky actions. I had lost weight, wasn’t joining in on our usual family fun, and was often not around. They were informed about my struggling grades in school. That’s when I started taking things without asking. I took stuff from both my family and my buddies. I even collected scrap metal from the farm. I grabbed discarded items and sold them at an auction. I hung out with some friends who were into drugs, and we would break into houses to grab things and sell them at the nearby pawn shop.

It was all about keeping up, keeping up, keeping up.

On a summer day, I had the task of giving my sister’s close friend a ride to a Rutgers Party. She had recently obtained her driver’s license and a new car, so we were driving together. During our journey, we made a stop at a WAWA store. While she went inside to get some iced tea, I was snorting oxycontin using a dollar bill when she returned. She was really scared, surprised, hurt, and shocked by what she saw. She managed to stay composed, and we continued on to the party and returned home afterwards. However, after two days, she found the courage to talk to my mother and explain what she had observed.

Alexa is her name, she rescued me when I was in trouble, and she’s the one who spilled the beans.

I tell children nowadays, when I talk to them, to kindly speak up if they see something wrong happening. It can help save someone’s life.

My deepest secret was now known to my parents. They had figured it out and decided to take action. They quickly admitted me to my first treatment center. Although I stayed there for only two weeks and returned home, I couldn’t resist getting high once again. Alongside attending an intensive outpatient program, I continued my drug use and engaged in deceitful behaviors. I went as far as stealing and selling my mother’s jewelry, except for her wedding ring. Unfortunately, my actions had dire consequences. One day, while I was out with my girlfriend, my mother inspected my car. To her dismay, she found our family’s silverware and her wedding ring in the glove compartment – items I intended to sell. The harmony within my family was shattered. The aftermath was overwhelming: my parents were in constant arguments, tears, and confusion. My college-bound sister contemplated dropping out to return home due to the chaos. Meanwhile, my younger sister was struggling with anger, depression, and even resorted to self-harm. Even my grandparents were deeply saddened and disillusioned. The reach of my choices extended to everyone around me! How could I have let this happen?

I joined my third rehab center. I did really well for a month, but it was tough. I was about to turn 21 while in rehab. I felt like I had wasted so much time. Negative thoughts filled my mind, telling me I’d always be a failure. I thought, “I’m finally 21, and now they’re saying I can never drink again? That’s not fair.” The part of me that craved drugs and alcohol was still strong. Unfortunately, I wanted to celebrate turning 21, so I gave in. I had a few drinks even though I don’t usually drink much. Since I was in California, I decided to find some weed. While walking around, I met a homeless man who offered me a hit from his pipe. It didn’t feel like weed; it burned my throat. I had just been introduced to a new dangerous substance: Crystal Meth.I had made friends during my previous rehab, and it didn’t take long for us to relapse together. Soon, I started using heroin and even started injecting a mix of heroin and meth. Things went downhill quickly. I lost my job and my apartment within a few weeks. I made the painful decision to cut my family out of my life.

My mom reached her breaking point. She discovered a method to locate my girlfriend, who was with me during my last time in rehab. Learning that her mom was coming to visit, my mom flew to California. Concealing herself in some bushes at the airport, she took control of Christine’s car as soon as she arrived to pick up her mom at 4 pm. Despite Christine being under the influence, due to me injecting her recently, my mom compelled her to drive to where I was. After around 15 minutes of driving from the airport, we arrived at an abandoned hotel. We gave a homeless man $20 to let us stay there. Rushing out of the car, my mom shouted, “Which room is he in?” She sprinted into the hotel yard, stopped at door 11, and forcefully kicked it open. Inside, she found me standing with a band around my arm and a spoon in hand – a mother’s worst nightmare.

Even now, I remember the picture of my mom at the doorway. She looked like a shadow with a strong light behind her. She spoke gently, telling me that we’re going to find assistance for me. I went along with her, feeling like a little kid, maybe around four or five. I didn’t understand how she located me, but I just trailed after her, feeling bewildered.

I stayed awake for 12-14 days using Meth, and it made me lose touch with reality. I tried to climb over the yard’s concrete wall, break out of the house, and even got into fights with my friends, hurting them and damaging furniture. Eventually, four people had to restrain me. The situation got so out of control that the police had to be involved. It was clear that I wasn’t in a state to board an airplane, and the police noted that my heart rate was dangerously high, warning me about the risk of a heart attack and my irrational behavior. They decided to initiate a 5150 hold, which means my rights were temporarily suspended, and I came under the care of the state of California.

The Emergency Room staff were concerned about IV drug users like me, and with good reason. When they came near, dressed in hazmat suits due to fear, I would react angrily and even spit at them. Because of my behavior, they had to restrain me to the bed and mend my injured face while I continued to use foul language. It was a shameful display. My mother was in tears, sitting there feeling embarrassed by the situation. I had to endure an agonizing 24 hours in that Emergency Room, which felt like a personal hell.

Afterward, I was taken to a Psychiatric Hospital by ambulance, still strapped to the bed, and it was about an hour-long journey. My mother accompanied me. I entered the Psychiatric ward wearing nothing but paper clothes, with stitches on my face, a bruised face, sweating, and feeling extremely unwell. I remained there for multiple days.

Every day, my mother came to see me.

On the first day, I felt furious and blamed her for my situation.

By the second day, my anger persisted, but I started questioning my own actions

When the third day arrived, I found myself in a psychiatric ward and couldn’t understand how I ended up there.

As the fourth day dawned, deep sadness engulfed me.

On the fifth day, I sought comfort by sitting on my mother’s lap, crying like a young child for half an hour.

By the sixth day, I appeared more determined in my outlook.

Finally, on the seventh day, I was allowed to leave with a chaperone and was taken to another treatment center, and my mom continued to support me throughout this journey.

I reached my seventh Treatment Center, which felt unlike the others. Or perhaps, I had changed? Unlike the previous ones, this center didn’t follow the twelve-step approach. I eagerly participated in all the available therapies. It helped me understand myself better—how I think, where I make mistakes, and how I see life. The counselors I worked with were amazing. We spent hours together, going through tears, anger, and moments of joy. I even picked up meditation and learned how to cope with difficulties through breathing. They rekindled my connection with spirituality. Medical examinations were routine. This place gave me a fresh shot at life, making me truly appreciate the gift of being alive.

These counselors showed me how to progress in my life. They taught me to stay positive and thankful, which helps to block out negativity. I learned to value my past, to see how decisions impact my life, but not to dwell there. They taught me to make amends through my actions and stressed the significance of being humble. This place was unique – it truly rescued me.

During my time at the Treatment Center, my mom had been in touch with the Aftercare Specialist. They provided information for the time after I left the center. However, my mom didn’t find many suitable options for my continued progress in New Jersey. So, when I returned home, we started creating a unique aftercare plan that’s quite different from what others have on the east coast. We were really clear about what we needed, very careful, and always stuck to the plan. Our program included various different approaches, like holistic methods, specific expert counselors, a support community, and a consistent routine.

I don’t keep track of the days; I embrace each day with enthusiasm and thankfulness. Every day, I’m reminded of the opportunities I’ve received, and I appreciate the important individuals in my life. I acknowledge the mistakes I’ve made that may have hurt my loved ones due to my decisions, and I strive within myself to make amends and bring satisfaction.

I completed my studies at Rutgers University and earned a degree in Social Work and Psychology. Every day, I aim to help others overcome struggles similar to mine. The CFC Loud N Clear Foundation is an innovative and new idea that challenges the traditional treatment approaches. Some existing programs disagree with it. Our belief is that relapse should never be considered an choice.

I often remember how important it is to provide excellent, individualized, and caring support for people dealing with addiction. Life during the healing process is even better than what I had hoped for. I’m excited about what lies ahead.

Sincerely,

Daniel Regan