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Richie Lapinski Junior is someone that went to high school and lived here in Monmouth County from the age of 15 into his mid-twenties, he was a long branch resident for a short period of that time. Long branch was where he was living when the sheriffs' office caught him on Christmas Eve-in a snowstorm, he spent that night in the town jail in long branch and would be the beginning of a 3-year state prison sentence.


Richie and his family were destroyed by drugs and addiction. For over a decade Richie sold and used drugs l. But if you knew him and his family growing up here in Monmouth county you would never have thought he would go through such dark dark times. Richie graduated from Manasquan high school as a 12 letter varsity athlete. He has voted all State football all shore baseball. He led his team to four consecutive state championships and was voted into the Hall of Fame for football and baseball. he also excelled academically, Finishing in the top 10% in his class graduating as the Vice President, A member of the National Honor Society, a member of the peer leader program, a member of the gold key club voted most athletic. His talents and Hardwork earned him a full scholarship to Lehigh University for football. He had his entire life in front of him at one of the best academic schools in the country. At Lehigh however, injuries would start to plague Richie as he tore his ACL twice, tore his rotator cuff and tore his hamstring. These injuries would be a dramatic turning point in his life.


In his own words Open till that point everything in life had come easy to him school making friends meeting girls athletics it was his first real obstacle, having to come to terms with the fact he would no longer be able to be an athlete, and he could not overcome it.


Richie began to make the decisions at this point that would affect the course of his life drastically and lead him down a dark path of a true hell on earth. Although he was a Great athlete and tremendous student he would always look forward to the weekends and the parties planned, usually held at his house. Looking back now he says he can see the signs that he was an alcoholic and had the gene of addiction inside of him even back then. He was the one staying up till six am drinking and using drugs while everyone else went home at one or two Richie did not want the party to end. With sports out of his life and looking back now realizing in a depression his love of partying became a daily routine not just on the weekends. Like all drug attic’s Richie was selfish impatient and had an ego and in his mind, he was a nobody now without sports.


So he decided he was going to be a drug dealer and to be as big a drug dealer as he could be. For the next 12 years, Richie sold and used drugs always ending up becoming his own best customer. At the age of 21, Richie was a college student on a full scholarship at one of the best schools in the country by the age of 32 he had been to jail six times he served a three-year state prison sentence and had checked himself into rehab 5 times. Not until the age of 32 did Richie decide he was going to change the way he was living his life. In the beginning, the reason he made that choice was so he would stop putting his family through so much pain. Doreen his last stay in rehab a moment of clarity came over him and he realized that his actions were not just affecting him but they were affecting everyone that loved him and was in his life. Richie began his journey to recover on June 6, 2016. And in that short period, he has built himself a life he never thought possible when he was in a jail cell for 23 hours a day.


He started at the bottom of the treatment industry as overnight Behavioral health tech and from there he moved his way up and worked in every aspect of the treatment industry as an operations manager and alumni director A housing and sober living director and a group facilitator.


In 2017 One of Richie‘s friends that I’ve come to learn his story kept encouraging him to share it believing that it would inspire others that recovery was possible. Richie did not like this idea but was told by his sponsor that is how we stay sober by giving it back to the newcomer and showing him or her it is possible. So that begins his journey as an outreach specialist and it would change his life. He began sharing his story wherever he could, on social media, at high schools at other treatment centers newspapers such as the Asbury park press and the USA today jersey journal and coast star shared his story. He was helping people every day whether it was getting someone into his facility or into another one It didn’t matter Richie made a promise he was going to help everyone that called him no matter what their situation was. And he can say he has kept that promise.


He became the executive outreach director and part-owner of Foundations Wellness Center. He then started families fighting addiction a Facebook group that in just six months grew to 8000 members and is growing daily. That group which will soon be a non-profit organization to him is the proudest achievement of his life because it has been able to connect people from all over the country and has helped families understand the disease and has helped the addict understand what it is like for their family members and loved ones. That is why he started the group it was a “he saw one day that said addiction is a family disease one person may use but the entire family suffers and it was like getting hit with a sledgehammer in the chest. He wanted to not only help addicts but help those suffering, even more, the mother, the father, the spouse, the child. They live with a constant feeling of frustration helplessness and fear and they have to continue working their jobs keeping their responsibilities all while this cloud of fear is around them.


From foundations, Richie moved on to Niznik healthcare which is a national organization with nine facilities nationwide with a facility for adolescents. Also, he was asked by the county commissioner to Help develop a new drug outreach program for Hudson County where he and a group of social workers and a clinician go into the communities of Hudson County and try to get help to those who do not have the means or knowledge to get help. He is very proud and honored to be allowed to come back and help his home county as Richie grew up in Bayonne New Jersey and lived there until the age of 15 where he moved to Manasquan and he can help those less fortunate than most because of this grant they can help any person with or without insurance with or without a dollar in their pocket.


He still travels to Florida where he has to sober living homes that he is also proud of and considers the members of those houses his extended family. He is a recovery coach and in the process of becoming a certified addiction specialist. He has been through it all drug court probation I SP program jail prison rehab and is here to share his views on addiction especially the relationship between the addict and the loved one. How to communicate with them from talking to them as teenagers to actual use and addiction, how to get them to get themselves help and how to communicate with them in early sobriety and long term sobriety. He also has a great deal of knowledge in the treatment industry and has views on the ways it can be improved and ways that work and do not work. He is an open book and every time he shares his story he does in hopes it helps at least one person.

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