Blake Cohen is no stranger to obstacles and difficulties. At a young age, like so many others, he began down a path of addiction to pain medication. He struggled with this addiction for years as he tried to appear like he had everything under control to the outside world.
“My story unfortunately is not unique to millions of people all around the globe. As a teenager and young adult, I found myself deeply lost in an addiction to opioid pain medication. Ashamed, embarrassed, and disillusioned, I spent every waking moment of my life in those years trying to balance who I appeared to be on the outside to my family, friends, and the public with what was painfully going on internally within me. Like so many who have been there before, I was stuck living a double life and lost track of who I was and who I wanted to be,” Blake recounts.
Thankfully, intervention on behalf of his family set Blake on the right path. It was this moment that helped him see his path clearly and made him want to dedicate his life to helping others overcome their own obstacles and addictions.
“Fortunately for me, though, my family decided that they had enough of watching me slowly wither away and on New Year’s Eve 2012, they stepped in to help me. My life was forever changed that day. Struggling and overcoming addiction is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but it changed my perspective on living. That is why I decided that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping others overcome their own struggles with substance use disorders and mental health issues. My recovery has taught me that if I am patient, if I work hard, and I am willing to ask for help from other people, I can accomplish anything,” Blake explains.
Now, Blake and his partner run a business to help people do just what Blake did in the past: overcome their addiction.
“My partner, Amanda Marino, and I run an organization called Next Level Recovery Associates Inc. Our goal with the organization is to help fill the many gaps that are oftentimes left by traditional treatment models or therapeutic interventions. We offer our clients substance use disorder interventions, recovery, family, and life coaching, case management services, public speaking and education services regarding substance use and mental health, sober companion and transport services, and more! Our goal is to help the entire family system reach the next level in their lives while offering support, accountability, guidance, and expertise. We have a large team that can help us address the various individual needs of our unique clients,” Blake states.
Blake has a lot of great projects planned for the upcoming year. He is planning on growing his business in the coming months and focusing on helping more people to get better and find their way out of their addiction.
“My main focus right now is to work on growing our current organization, Next level Recovery Associates Inc. In 2021, I want to expand our educational initiatives to corporate environments and other places that would typically be considered unusual to discuss mental health and addiction. Over the last year, I’ve become more and more convinced that “breaking stigma” surrounding mental illness is a lot more simple than most people are making it out to be. It’s about education and conversation. Bringing awareness to a social issue (which mental illness currently is) doesn’t require an enormous grand gesture like a fancy black-tie fundraiser or celebrity endorsed commercial. It can be as simple as bringing “real” people together for an intimate conversation that is facilitated by professionals to help educate and promote in-depth discussion. Sometimes the best form of education comes by asking the right questions. I’d like to bring Next Level Recovery Associates Inc into corporations to get these important conversations started by asking the right questions,” Blake says.