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Community Highlights: Meet Amanda Marino and Blake Cohen of Next Level Recovery Associates

Amanda and Blake met in late 2013 while working in the substance abuse treatment field together. Over the next few years, they both continued their journeys in assisting families addressing issues related to substance use disorders separately while remaining friends and colleagues. All the while, their passions and goals remained aligned in wanting to further their education, spread awareness, and be of service to.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Offering a range of services, our expertly trained team utilizes a concierge approach to determine the best course of action in assisting each individual client. Specializing in those struggling with substance use disorders, our services include Individual & Family Coaching, Interventions, Consulting, Educational Groups, public education, sober transportation, sober companioning, and more. Our goal is to recognize the individual differences in each case we approach and adapt our methods to meet the specific needs that each family requires.

We’d love to hear about any fond memories you have from when you were growing up?
Although Amanda and Blake, the founders of Next Level Recovery Associates Inc, had very different childhoods, they both ended up developing and recovering from substance use disorders themselves. Amanda’s childhood was riddled with physical, emotional, and sexual trauma, her sister being kidnapped right in front of her eyes, and various other adverse childhood experiences. Blake’s childhood, on the other hand, was rather “normal.” Both of them, though, were exposed to addiction at an early age and their family trees displayed a genetic prevalence of the disease. This speaks to the point we made earlier that addiction does not discriminate. Whether you come from a background that is dark or one that society may consider normal, you still have the same probability of developing a substance use disorder, especially as the strength of certain drugs increase over time, the need for instant gratification becomes more prevalent, exposure to dopamine spiking social media happens at earlier and earlier ages, and addictive medications are given out more freely than ever before.

At the same time, we also need people to recognize that trauma is truly, and most often, the root cause of most people developing some type of addiction issue. The definition of trauma is a lot broader these days than it was 10-15 years ago. Trauma can be anything from physical, sexual, mental, and/or emotional abuse to not being loved enough as a child, feeling abandoned, divorce, wartime exposure, political crisis, internet bullying, and more. We hope that this helps people understand that those that develop addictions aren’t doing it intentionally, but, on the contrary, are doing it as a means of self-preservation and self-medicating to avoid intense feeling and emotions that are arising due to a potential response to trauma.

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