As CEO, his mission is simple, to bring the sense of community and support he experienced to others who need it.
Daniel Regan, as his colleagues call him, ‘The Recovery Gandhi’, has transformed the system of mental health and substance abuse treatment. When the traditional system failed him, Daniel fought hard with the support of his mother, Lynn, to create a continuum of care that would be financially accessible to anyone who needed help. Daniel believes strongly in extended aftercare, peer & clinical support, integrative therapies, individualized care, inspiring with passion, and providing people with multiple pathways and opportunities to find recovery.
“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
I come from a beautiful family. Very supportive, loving, & happy. My parents and grandparents have been married for over 30 years. I lived a great childhood. My parents were always there, vested in my life. I lived on a beautiful farm in Monmouth County. I was always told by my parents not to do drugs, I was told drugs are bad for you, I was told I did drugs, I could die.
When I was in 6th grade I was offered marijuana by my older brother. Not a stranger, not a hoodlum, not a scary drug dealer. I was so frightened but he convinced me that nothing bad was going to happen. I was standing watching him & his friends laughing and seemingly having a good time. I trusted him, so I tried it. I loved it! This was a pinnacle moment for me in my thought process. I decided at this moment, that my parents had been lying to me…drugs were fun.
I continued smoking marijuana… first once a week, then on weekends, then every day. I was convinced that I was very cool and my friends at school seem very interested in everything I was doing and saying. I was popular in my newly found world. I continued to be a great student, smiling, I joined the swim team, smiling, my choices were my choices, smirking, it’s my life deal with it, laughing. The media helped my attitude…becoming a gangster/rapper looked cool. My life should be an MTV video, so I thought. My brother then came home from college. He had been partying hard while away. I stumbled upon him with his friends and they were doing lines of cocaine. I was only smoking weed at this time & said ‘No I don’t do those kind of drugs!’. He convinced me to give it a whirl. So I did…again, I loved It!
My perception of drugs changed even more… all drugs were open game. I wanted to experiment with different altered states, different combinations. I was not yet an addict but clearly a “drug abuser”… only 16 years old. Time went on and then came college. I was offered a scholarship to attend Farleigh Dickinson University. My parents were proud and went on visits to the school, helped me move into my dorm. They dreamed of me becoming educated and soaking in the college experience with great hopes for the future. My attitude was already twisted and I looked at college as a huge party.
My first year at FDU I was introduced to oxycontin. Within three months, I was snorting 13 pills per day with a $350 per day habit. I came home from school for Easter Break and was asked to drive my little sister to the mall, which I willingly did, so that I didn’t have to spend too much time at home. My mom was cooking a big meal for the family and was expecting me to drop her off and come directly home. I pulled out of the mall parking lot and was pulled over by a police officer. They pulled me from my car, searched my vehicle, which was still full of my entire dorm room. They found 200 oxycontin, couple thousand dollars and a list of everyone that owed me money. I was cuffed and arrested. I was immediately worried about how I could get out of this so I could get back to my drugs. I knew I had to cooperate with the police, so I gave them lists of doctors that were providing us with oxy and other dealers with whom I was working. They released me and I went home, although late for dinner, I walked in to the house and explained I was talking to an old friend…sorry. Now I had a huge problem. I had a 13 pill a day habit, I turned in all my drug dealers so I couldn’t go visit them, How do I survive this? Bones were starting to ache, sweats were arriving, skin crawling. I knew I needed to steal in order to keep myself well. How ironic is that statement? My mind so twisted and irrational? I needed to stop doing drugs to be well…
My parents began catching on to my evasive behaviors. I was thin, not participating in family activities like I used to, always absent. They had now been notified of my academic probation at school. I began stealing… I stole whatever I could from my family & friends. I scrapped metal that was on the farm. I took garbage and sold it at auction. A group of my drug friends would break into houses and steal things from homes and go to the local pawn shop daily.
Maintaining, maintaining, maintaining.
It was a summer day and I was to drive my sister’s best friend to a Rutgers Party. She had just gotten her license and a new car and we were driving together. We stopped at a WAWA where she went in to get an iced tea and upon arriving back at her car she witnessed me snorting my oxycontin from a dollar bill. She was terrified, shocked, pained, and horrified. She played it cool and we went to the party and came home. Two days later she mustered up the strength to go to my mother and tell her what she had witnessed.
Her name is Alexa, she saved my life, and she is my snitch.
I ask kids today when I speak to them to please be a snitch save a life.
My parents now knew my deep secret. They were on to me. They immediately put me into my first treatment center. I lasted two weeks, came home and got high again. I attended an intensive outpatient program while continuing to get high. I continued stealing and manipulating. I had stolen and sold all of my mother’s jewelry except her wedding ring. I was out one morning with my girlfriend and my mother went to spot check my car. When she opened the car door out fell the family silverware & her wedding ring in the glove compartment to be sold. I had destroyed my beautiful family. They were in completed disarray. My parents were fighting, crying and confused. My one sister was away in college wanting to come home and leave school unable to function. My baby sister was angry, depressed and had begun cutting herself. My grandparents were so sad and disappointed.. My decisions had affected everyone around me! What had I done?
I entered my third treatment center. I did really well for thirty days, but I was white knuckling it. I was turning 21 in rehab. “ I had lost so much time.” “I will always be the loser.” My mind was saying, I am finally 21 and you’re telling me I can never have a drink? I don’t think so. My addict Ego was not done with me! I unfortunately wanted to celebrate my 21st birthday..so I did. I had a few drinks. I’m not really a drinker, so I decided to find some weed, after all I was in CA. I went walking and stumbled upon a homeless man who said he could help me and offered me a hit off his pipe. I knew it wasn’t weed…It burnt my throat. I was just introduced to my new poison…Crystal Meth. I had met three other friends at my last rehab and it was only moments before we all relapsed together. I was soon introduced to heroin and was soon injecting myself with heroin & meth…power balling. Within a few weeks, I lost my job, I lost my apartment and I had decided to completely cut my family out of my life.
My mother couldn’t take it anymore. She had found a way to track down my girlfriend, whom I attended the last rehab with. She found out that her mother was flying in to visit. She would be picking her mom up from the airport at 4pm. My mom flew to California, waited and waited in a bush at the airport and then she hi-jacked Christine’s car as she pulled up to get her mom. My mom forced Christine to drive her to me. Christine was very high as I had just shot her up. She drove about 15 minutes from the airport to an abandoned hotel where we paid a homeless man $20 to stay. My mom jumped from the car, screaming “what room is he in?” She ran into the hotel yard, screeched to door 11 and kicked the door in. She found me standing, band around arm, spoon in hand. A mother’s worst nightmare…
To this day I can still see the image of my mother standing in that doorway. She was a silhouette with bright light behind her and her voice calmly said, come on Danny we’re going to get you some help. I followed my mother like a small child, as if I was four or five years old. I couldn’t figure out how she found me…I just walked behind her…confused.
I had been awake for 12-14 days using Meth, I became psychotic. I tried to escape over the concrete wall of the yard I was in, tried to break out of the house, fought with my friends, injured them, broke furniture and then was tackled and held by four people unable to move. The police had to be called. There was obviously no way my mother was going to be able to get me onto an airplane in this state. The police took my heart rate and warned me that I may have a heart attack at any minute and that I am acting irrational. They decided to 5150 me. Which means all of my human rights had been taken away and I became the product of the state of CA.
They don’t like IV drug users in the ER, for good reason. They would approach me, frightened, in hazmat suits and I would spit at them. They tied me to my bed and repaired my face as I cursed at them. I was a disgrace. My mother wept as she sat shamed. I spent 24 hours of my hell in this ER. I was then transported to a Psych Hospital by ambulance still tied to my bed, about an hour away. My mom followed. I arrived at the Psych ward in my paper clothing, stitches, bruised face, sweating, extremely ill. I stayed there for several days.
My mom would visit me each day.
Day 1, I was angry & hated her for doing this to me.
Day 2, I was angry, what have I done.
Day 3, I was in a psych ward? How did I get here?
Day 4, I was so sad.
Day 5, I crawled into my mother’s lap as if I was a small child and wept for 30 minutes.
Day 6, I was seemingly resolute.
Day 7, I was released to an escort and driven to another Treatment Center… Mom followed.
I arrived at my seventh Treatment Center. This center was different or maybe I was different? This center was a non-twelve step program. I dove right in to every therapy available to me. I became so aware of myself, my thought process, my errors, and my perception of life. I worked with fantastic counselors through hours of tears, anger, and laughter. I learned meditation. I learned breathing & coping skills. I was reminded of spirituality. I was poked & prodded. I had been given another chance at life, I had begun to realize how grateful I was to be alive.
I was taught by these counselors to move forward in my life. To remain positive & grateful, thus keeping negative influence from your being. I was taught to respect my past, to understand how choices effect your life, but to not live in that story, do not live in the past. I was taught to apologize through action, I was taught that humility is of the upmost importance. This place was different…we saved my life.
My mom had spoken with the Treatment Center Aftercare Specialist throughout my stay. They offered resources for aftercare, but very few in NJ that she felt were suitable for my success. So upon arriving home, we began building an aftercare program very different from what is available to patients now on the east coast. We were very specific about our needs, very diligent, and very consistent. Our program required many alternative elements, different holistic modalities, specific professional counselors, a community of support and consistency.
I don’t count the days, I LIVE the days, with passion and gratitude. I am humbled daily by the chances I have been given, I am grateful for the people in my life, I envelope the debt of pain I’ve caused my loved ones, by personal choice, and I internally work my hardest to please & resolve.
I have since graduated with a degree in Social Work and Psychology from Rutgers University. I wake up each morning hoping to save another from the battles I overcame. CFC Loud N Clear Foundation is a ground breaking concept, progressive and refreshing. It is being met with controversy from existing treatment programs. We believe relapse is not an option.
I am continuously reminded of the need for quality, personal, and compassionate care in the treatment of addiction. Life in recovery is better than I could have ever imagined. I look forward to the future.