SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) announced a new aftercare program for Sailors at the command that have completed the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP).
Sober Life in the Military (SLiM) is a peer-led support, discussion, and network group and an integral part of the NMCSD Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor (DAPA) aftercare program. SLiM is an on-base alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous groups.
Yeoman 2nd Class Jenilee Alejandro created SLiM because she knows how difficult recovery can be.
"It is really hard to assimilate back into the military after you have gone through SARP and have been abstaining from alcohol or another substance," Alejandro said. "I was lucky enough to have a strong support group after SARP and was able to assimilate well back into the military."
Alejandro self-referred to SARP in 2013, and the support group she had after SARP compelled her to create SLiM.
"I wanted to make sure that there is hope for service members who are just now getting sober," Alejandro said. "The SLiM program is a networking group that helps Sailors realize there is success after SARP, and more so, you can excel if you have a strong support group."
The mission of SLiM is to bring together military members who choose a sober way of life through active recovery.
Like AA, anonymity is a benefit of SLiM. The program also provides a convenient, localized and relatable setting at the command for Sailors who can't make it to AA meetings.
"This program is extremely important because it is located here in the facility, this gives (participants) the opportunity to attend during lunch at a convenient time," said Chief Information Systems Technician Lashandrea Young, NMCSD DAPA department head. "It is a peer-led group type meeting that has the same concept as AA, but led by service members who have been in the same situation."
All ranks from E-1 to O-10 are welcomed and are encouraged to come, but uniforms and rank are prohibited at meetings.
"Since we are in the military, rank might be intimidating to some people. When you are in sobriety, you shouldn't be intimidated by rank," Alejandro said. "We are people. A big part of SLiM is that we come in civilian attire, which gives us confidence and the ability to be people first before Sailors."
Along with support from the command, Alejandro hopes SLiM will help end the negative stigma attached to attending SARP and active recovery.
"Being in recovery is a beautiful thing and is beyond life-changing," said Alejandro. "Service members who attend these programs should be applauded for their efforts and not negatively stereotyped. By advocating and spreading the word that people in the military can lead sober lives, maybe we can prevent somebody from becoming an alcoholic."
Meetings are held weekly aboard NMCSD and are open to all branches, active and prior military.
For more information contact the DAPA office at 619-532-6513.
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