If I’m Accepted, What Should I Bring?


Dorm - Beds


If you have been accepted into our program, keeping in mind that this is a temporary housing facility, you can NOT bring everything you own. There is very small space for personal items. Essentially, each bed has about 3ft of hanging space, 3 dresser drawers, and 1 foot locker. You should just bring the bare minimum and if you find that you need something else, your family can bring it or you can purchase it later. But, we will not allow you to acquire too much here. If in doubt about something, just call and ask us.  However, we do provide all bed linens, pillows, and bath towels.


The following is a list of suggested items you should bring:

  • Nice clothes and shoes for job hunting and church (a collar shirt [dress preferred]) or a good polo.  Slacks and/or nice jeans without holes.
  • Shorts and T-shirts for hanging out and sleeping in (no shirts that advertise or promote alcohol, tobacco, music, or sexuality).
  • Sneakers and Flip-flops
  • Alarm clock that does not play music (battery-operated preferred)
  • Board shorts if you plan to swim or play volleyball by the lake (at your own risk)
  • Toiletries that include but not limited to: Shaving gear, toothpaste & toothbrush, liquid bath soap, and shampoo (travel size is preferred)
  • Liquid laundry soap
  • Petty cash (optional, but a new client is allowed a one-time petty cash allowance up to $100–however the average is around $50).  Petty cash is usually useful for laundry, bus passes (for job purposes), and snacks & soft drinks (from the vending machine).

The following is a list of items that you should not bring:

  • Laptops and/or computers
  • Pornography or similar content not suitable in a Christian program
  • Clothes that advertise or promote alcohol. tobacco, sex, gambling, or music
  • Powdered laundry soap

Frequently Asked Questions

Commonly asked questions

1. What is your definition of an addict?

An addict is someone who can choose when they start using, but not when they stop using. (something other than themselves dictates when they stop, for example, they run out of money, pass out, get arrested.)

2. After an addict realizes their problem & seeks help, is it possible to be normal again and not crave their specific addiction?

It is possible to have a normal life but once they cross the imaginary line from dependence to addiction, they can never go back to using the chemical socially again. The cravings will eventually slow down to only once in a great while but never leave them totally.

3. What is the most important thing to focus on during the stages of recovery?

Be “teachable” & honest. And to change people, places and things.

4. Is there an average amount of time you need in order to recover?

Each person is different, but the rule of thumb in the AA big book is not to make any major life decisions for a minimum of 1-2 years.

5. What are the different types of addictions? What sorts of things can a person be addicted to?

Alcohol, drugs, working, spending money, gambling, rage, anger, sex, pornography, etc. (not necessarily in this order).

6. What is your definition of codependency?

It’s the illusion that you can make yourself happy by trying to control people and events outside yourself. A sense of control or the lack of it is central to everything you do and think. Simply by being in a relationship with someone who has an addiction issue, family members are automatically Co-Dependents.

7. How can addiction change a person’s behavior?

It’s like falling in love. When you’re in love with someone you do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Example: you may stop hanging around your friends as much, talk ing on the phone more than you usually do. With addiction we make choices based on getting high, for example we might not have enough money to buy our dope so we use the rent money or we rent our car to the crack dealer who trashes it, at the very least.

8. Before seeking help with an addiction problem, what first must a person realize?

They must realize they are powerless over their addiction. They must ADMIT they have a problem that they need help for.

9. What determines if a person is codependent or not?

A co-dependent is bound and tormented by the way things were in the dysfunctional family of origin. Example: father was an alcoholic, so his daughter becomes a compulsive volunteer.

10. Would you say that, generally, codependency and addiction go hand in hand?

Yes, actually the addict needs someone to take care of them and the co-dependent needs someone to take care of. Also, the second major characteristic of addiction is codependency. Once an addict gets into recovery, then all of his codependency traits rise to the top and then those must be dealt with also.

11. Would you say addiction is a mental desire/habit or more along the lines of a disease?

When you say disease, I take it to mean ‘is addiction a physical thing?’ In that context I believe it is more mental. Example: alcohol is out of your system in 72 hours, cocaine in any form the same, pills have half-lives so it takes longer to leave your system; same with methamphetamines. Once the stimulant is gone, then it is the “stinkin thinkin” that keeps the addict going back.

12. When someone struggles with addiction, what do they usually require?

Some may require detoxification, but all will need to be sick and tired of being sick and tired, and then will need to get in a program that will help them learn to rely on a higher power rather than themselves, and to learn how to make better choices.

**If you have additional questions, feels free to send an email to: info@ and we will answer your e-mail and post it on our website for others to view.

See Our Facility

Front of Building - Vehicles and Cross

Front of Building - driveway 2

Front of Building - left angle

Dining Hall

Projector Screen

Serving Room

Kitchen - Cooking area


Class Room - from corner

Dorm - 2-6-15








Dorm - From back corner

Dorm - Beds


Laundry Room - Washers

TV Room



The Walkway and Smokepit

The Dockand Cross

Back of Building

Back of Building - Porch and Walkwy

The Garden and Flag

Support Group Meeting: TUESDAYS for Families and Addicts

FSM shirt-Where Change Happens

As a family struggling with addiction issues, let us help you better understand the dynamics of recovery!

The Fresh Start support group meeting targets issues such as addiction, codependency and life management while at the same time helping families build strong support networks. The meeting is a non-threatening environment made up of an educational teaching on addiction or co-dependency.

There is no charge for the meeting, however an offering will be accepted. Fresh Start is a non-profit organization helping the addicted community in Orlando since 1986.

The meetings are open to the public and everyone is welcome.

If you have a husband or boyfriend in the Fresh Start program, you are REQUIRED to attend the weekly family meetings.

All other family members are STRONGLY encouraged to attend. Healing can not be isolated, & family members can learn important topics such as Boundary Setting, Signs & Symptoms to look for when he is on a Build Up to use, Steps for detaching when necessary, Marriage 101, How your life will need to change now that he is changing, and many others.

We hope you will join us as we travel the road of recovery and healing together.

WHEN:  Tuesday evenings, 7:15 to 9:00. Doors open at 7:05.

Due to the sensitive nature, NO children please

Come be a part of our weekly support group meeting at:




Please feel free call us for more information at (407) 293-3822

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As your charitable choice. Use the link below:

Fresh Start Ministries, Inc.

Check us out on Facebook

See us at www.facebook.com/freshstartministriesorlando

or search for Fresh Start Ministries of Central FL



We are very active on Facebook and would love you to Friend us & testify to the Lord’s great mercy in your life!

If you are an alumni, we have a special alumni group on Facebook that you can join and stay connected.

Be sure to join both our Facebook pages!!!


Addiction News: Meth head bones


Toxic Bones Of Meth Heads

Meth Dead Don’t Get Eaten

That’s what 17 year old Daniel Jeffrey Martin from Desert Vista High School heard from his mom one day while driving near a piece of the desert near his home town of Phoenix, Arizona. “Huh?” he asked. His mom, a forensic scientist (think: CSI), explained to him that when dead bodies are found in the desert by animals like coyotes, bobcats, and wolves, these scavengers will usually eat them—except for the bodies of methamphetamine users (proven by an autopsy).


In 2012, of the more than 22,000 deaths relating to pharmaceutical overdose, 72% involved opioid pain relievers.


For Whom the Bong TollsAddict


Regular Pot Smokers Have Shrunken Brains

According to a team of scientists marijuana users had “significantly less volume” to their orbitofrontal cortex, a region of the brain that is critical to how a person processes reward, motivation and addictive decisions. Researchers noted that the IQ of the marijuana-using group was significantly lower than that of the non-using group–not a finding of the study, but an incidental factor that might be indirectly linked to marijuana use.



Dr. Antonello Bonci Q & A: Lighting Up the Brain To Shut Down Cocaine Seeking

Dr. Antonello Bonci, Scientific Director of NIDA’s Intramural Research Program (IRP), talks about switching off animals’ compulsive cocaine seeking by optogenetically activating the prefrontal cortex, and the implications of this work for people.

To read the full article:



10/22/14 That a STAGGERING 90 PERCENT of all addictions start in the teen years?


8/25/14 Regarding legalizing Marijuana – The FDA has not reviewed ANY SAFETY or EFFECTIVENESS data on “medical marijuana” as required by law for it to be approved as a prescribed drug. Both the American Medical Assoc. and the American Psychiatric Assoc oppose it being approved. A study released in 2014 evaluated data in 6 states including California, that routinely performed toxicology tests on drivers involved in FATAL car crashes between 1999 and 2010. They found a 300% increase in marijuana in the drivers over a 10 yr. period and that these percentages were seen in the bodies of the 23,500 drivers who died in car crashes during this time. [HealthDay News, 2/14/14] So much for the erroneous and misleading statements now being made that marijuana doesn’t kill people. Today’s marijuana is at least 3 times more potent than it was just a generation ago. Apart from possible long term changes in the developing brain, there is the proven impact of short term memory loss and diminished motivation. The net effect can lead to declining academic performance and increased drop out rates.

8/19/14 Meditation Calms the Brain – Mindful mediation and zeroing in on your breathing for 20 minutes reduces anxiety by as much as 39 percent. Long term mindful meditation can improve cognitive processes that, in turn, can improve health outcomes. Christians may choose to pray and focus on God. We must understand that thoughts (anxiety) are fleeting but we must realize that the battle is won or lost in your head.

Finding help is hard. Did you know that Nationally there are 32.1 providers for every 1,000 individuals needing substance use disorders?

Addiction to drugs and alcohol affect millions of people and their families every year. Yet, they often go undiagnosed by healthcare professionals. This results in an estimated annual combined healthcare cost, lost productivity, and crime of $365 billion.

7/7/14 – “Nationally, there are 32.1 providers for every 1,000 individuals needing substance abuse help.”

 Did you know that drug overdose death rates in the U.S. have more than TRIPLED since 1990?

“Polypharmacy, or the use of multiple drugs at once, is the newest American epidemic; more than one in five U.S. citizens are using three or more prescription drugs, and more than one in 10 are using five or more,” said Jeffrey Galinkin, MD, chief medical officer of CU Toxicology and professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.


Since 1980, 3.3 million Americans — young and old, famous and not, rich and poor —  have died from an addiction (comparatively, 600,000 people have died of AIDS).  And millions more have lost their careers, hopes, homes, children, and families  to the disease.


47% of recovering addicts relapse within the first year after treatment begins and the possibility for recurrence is high: of those who relapse, 61% will relapse again. What triggers a relapse? How do these rates compare to other chronic illnesses? One of the persistent challenges of fighting addiction is the risk of relapse, or the full return to an addictive lifestyle after an attempt to quit. Addiction crosses all demographic borders, and it’s possible for anyone recovering from drug or alcohol addiction to relapse, but it’s also possible to never relapse during your recovery. Remember, relapse is a setback, not a failure.

Over a five-year period, 97% of opiate (not including heroin) and painkiller abusers will relapse at least once. Recovering crack, alcohol, and heroin addicts have similarly high rates of relapse over the course of five years, at 84%, 86%, and 87% respectively. The good news is, if you stay clean for more than five years, your chances of relapse drop dramatically.

Although the 5-year relapse rates by drug can be a little scary, the overall relapse rate for drug addiction of 40-60% is comparable to other chronic illnesses such as Hypertension, Type 1 Diabetes, and Asthma. Dual diagnosis and the presence of common triggers such as being in the presence of drugs/alcohol or others who are using can increase your likelihood to relapse.


Tired of Relapse? Try our Aftercare Housing: “Sober City”

Apartment at Sober City Living-Dining Room Kitchen Bedroom2 closet Bathroom sinkPool

Fresh Start has spent 28 years perfecting our curriculum so that each man who comes into our year-long program gets the best information, tools and counseling, much of it tailored to his individual needs. Thus, we have men graduating from the program who have made outstanding changes in their lives and have often completely remodeled themselves through Christ’s grace while here.

For many years Fresh Start has offered a small rental home as an aftercare choice in a sober living environment. But, the need is greater than what we’ve been able to accommodate. “…The fields are white unto harvest.”  Many more clients want to go into our aftercare housing but we have not had the space. So, Fresh Start saw there was a great need to expand and enhance our Aftercare Services.

Ideally, if a man completing our program is willing to submit to another 6 months of accountability with more freedoms in a sober housing environment, it increases his chance for long-term sobriety by leaps and bounds.

Because our need has been so great and we sincerely believe that learning to live outside of treatment, but with some smaller levels of accountability will help men remain sober, Fresh Start recently purchased a small, 20 unit apartment complex about 1/2 mile from our current facility for aftercare housing.  Each apartment is 2 bedroom, 2 bath and is furnished. This is a rental situation with 2 men per apartment, sharing electric and water. We are not requiring deposits or background checks that normal apartment complex’s require. There will be a required 6 month initial commitment and an option for another 6 months or possibly long-term rental. The complex is located in a quiet area, on Lake Fairview and has a pool. (see photos below).  This “sober city” will be for past, present, current and future alumni. There will be residential staff who will keep an eye on things to ensure that our sober community stays sober.

There will be some restrictions that will be spelled out in a “code of conduct” lease agreement, and it includes restrictions such as weekly support group meeting attendance and random drug screens to ensure everyone remains sober.

Currently, because we just recently purchased it and some regular tenants with leases are still living there, we initially only have 3 vacancies. As apartments come available, we will then have the opportunity to fill them with alumni.

If you are a Fresh Start alumni and are clean and sober and are interested in renting at our sober city, call the office and speak to Joe for details. 407 293-3822.

There  is also a website specifically for this at www.FSMAftercare.com 
photo - view of front building photo - Backyard view of building 12 Unit bldg KitchenBathroom Bedroom Driveway Entrance Front Yard Interior  Laundry Room   View of Unit 8