Category Archives: Dating

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: NONPROFITS & CREATIVE MATTERS


By Ryan Naghi
workingtogether Since I started working here at Creative Matters, I’ve heard many people tell me that despite our cutting-edge work, we are at an inherent disadvantage as a nonprofit ad agency. There’s a reason why no place like us exists—nonprofit and ad agency just don’t go together. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only are we surviving; we’re thriving. While bigger for profit companies like Fatburger and Wells Fargo are starting to put their brands in our hands, our work remains centered around other nonprofits. But why?

To understand this, I’ll put myself in the shoes of people who fund nonprofits, because they ultimately decide which missions to power. What do they want? They want to do as much good as efficiently as possible. And what does one nonprofit working with another such as ourselves do; more good per dollar spent. If a need is present, why not purchase it through another nonprofit’s earned income service? They will get the service they want, while allowing another organization to do what they specialize in, and the payments will go towards helping another cause. Working together gets better results, and makes both more worthy of support. As long as people know the extra good they are doing, funding will likely increase. But how you inform a support base is an art in itself, and smart non-profits hire outside support to maximize their impact.

That’s why Creative Matters makes the perfect fit. We are a nonprofit who provides marketing services to raise money for our mission. Since we are both the noteworthy partner and the marketers, our clients fully capitalize on the benefits of collaboration. Letting us manage their brand boosts their nonprofit’s credibility and appeal, because hiring us proves their commitment to bettering society. The beauty of this relationship is elegantly simple. They are more marketable by the very act of purchasing our marketing services, part of which goes towards promoting this new aspect of their brand to the public; it’s a perfect match!

And who exactly are they helping by hiring us? The same people designing the product, because our creative work not only funds our mission, it is our mission. Participating in the creative work itself helps people like me get the job skills, mentorship, and experience that make life exciting again, while making drugs now seem unappealing. Our innovative way of fighting addiction is proven to be 15 times more effective in maintaining sobriety than the dominant form of treatment. Our cause therefore, is one that spells out efficiency and societal impact as well as any, one that donors are more than happy to know they are supporting through our clients’ marketing needs.

Being a nonprofit gives us another advantage. It allows us to better understand their needs, goals, and values, giving the quality of our work a unique boost. For profit companies may still hold some advantages, but they can’t offer the symbiotic relationship that creates this kind of virtuous cycle we share with our clients.

So, here lies my answer to the people with doubts. We fill a tough niche, no doubt about that. It takes a lot for a place like this to exist. It takes persistence and outside support to start up, creativity and ingenuity to grow, and an intrinsic drive for meaning and purpose to manage. Above all else, it takes an understanding of the system at large and how we fit into it. That’s the reason we’re one of a kind. Since these things have all come together, our previous handicaps have transformed into competitive advantages that only we possess. The next step is to continue pointing this out to other nonprofits. It will take some great marketing on our part, but then again, great marketing is what we do.

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Filed under addiction, art, Beit T'Shuvah, BTS Communications, Charity Design Project, Community, Current Events, Dating, Education, Internet, Uncategorized

Interacting With The Opposite Sex


By Chris Alvarez

How do you find interacting with the opposite sex without alcohol?

Its strange, I used to need “Man in a Can” to be able to interact with girls. I had no confidence. I thought nothing of myself.  My ego told me drink and then maybe girls would like me, it worked for a night or two, but then it didn’t.

Alcohol was a tool I used to get over my anxiety and low self-esteem. It was useful until it wasn’t and then it just hurt me and degraded me.  The very thing I was using to help me feel better and give me “confidence” was just bringing me down. There was a point when I realized this but couldn’t stop drinking on my own.

However once I stopped drinking and began to work on myself my confidence level skyrocketed.  Now that I am sober I don’t need “man in a can”.  Sometimes I’m overconfident, to the point where I think I’m to good for anyone;  or at least to good for the girls I am purusing. grabbingbutt This causes me problems because I get frustrated when they don’t like me back.  I wonder, “why don’t you like me, any girl would be lucky to be with me and you don’t even realize it”. This is the same ego that used to tell me to drink because I wasn’t good enough for anybody.  This thinking can cause me to act in jealous irrational ways and must be stopped before it can do any harm.

I don’t like everyone and not everyone has to like me.  When I remember this, it’s easy for me to interact with the opposite sex.  Now it’s all me, no more “Man in a can”, people are just people and I have nothing to worry about.

(To be continued)

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Attention Please!!!!


By Chris Alvarez

Why do all the “deadbeats”, the people that disappoint us, the people that fall get so much attention? And the winners, the people that succeed, those who try so hard to do the next right thing get little to no attention for their actions?  In the “real world” this isn’t the case but in the world of recovery it’s the sad truth.

Do people root for the underdog or do they look at them as a way of seeing how much better off they are. Do they see a part of themselves in that person who just cant seem to do anything right? But the people, who do succeed, the ones doing the right thing, are they less worthy of attention? Shouldn’t they receive some praise for their success?  The incredibly successful ones, the top one percent of the top one percent do get attention but that’s such a tiny number of people.

a little attention please

a little attention please

Now I guess being awarded or acknowledged for doing the right thing isn’t needed; doing the right thing should be reward enough, but is giving attention to those who do “bad shit” for attention the “right” thing to do? Probably not, but most people do it anyways.

I try not to give into those who crave attention and act out in all the wrong ways. I see myself as a beacon of light for those in the dark. I never venture into the dark, I let those in the dark see the light and come to me. Am I doing the right thing? Who knows we all see life through a different lens. Let us know what you think about this post and remember giving someone attention might send the wrong message but… it might send the right one too.

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Filed under 12-Steps, addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Beit T'Shuvah, Community, Dating, Gratitude, Sobriety, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Questions From A Normie #3


By Chris Alvarez

                        Can you still go out to clubs and bars?

Going out to clubs and bars was something I really enjoyed.  It was a time when I could let loose, act crazy and hit on girls.  99.9% of the time I had to be drunk to do it.  However, now I can act crazy without being drunk, can have fun while being sober, and can have enough self-confidence to approach women and accept being shot down. 

That’s how I operate now.  Nevertheless the ability to go out to bars and clubs can differ from person to person.  Some people can go out, while others can’t.  It all depends on what triggers you have and how well you deal with them.  I would never say to someone that has one week sober that they are ok to go to a bar, I wasn’t ok to go out to clubs and bars at one week sober either.  For many of us though, time has a way of helping you cope.

No matter how much sober time you accumulate, some people will never feel 100% comfortable with going to these places. Those people come to accept that fact and live perfectly happy lives.

So to answer the question; I can go to clubs and bars as long as I stay focused and know that I can’t drink and don’t need a drink either.

If you are a “normie” and would like to know more leave a comment and I will answer any questions you have.

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Birthday Bash = Huge Success!


While Beit T’Shuvah’s multipurpose sanctuary wears many different hats, on Saturday it wore a feathered fedora for Rabbi Mark Borovitz’s 60th birthday party, transforming the sanctuary/dining hall into something barely recognizable. The doors opened to a dimly lit room with small lounge tables speckling the floor, black curtains adorning the walls and tables, and a full booze-less bar complete with cocktails such as the ‘Fuzzy Harriet’ and ‘Lonely Addicts Iced Tea.’

Rabbi’s gangster-themed “Roast and Toast” birthday party turned the Beit T’Shuvah sanctuary into a speakeasy, with guests dressed as 1920’s flappers and mob bosses.  Only at Beit T’Shuvah is it possible to roast your boss and spiritual leader in his own rehab-cum-barlounge.  While the décor was incredible, the Shirley Temples were delicious, and the food was scrumptious, the entertainment was the highlight of the evening.   Rabbi’s friends, family, and employees took turns serenading and addressing their Rabbi, their boss, their mentor, their husband, and their father.  Unconditional love for the man responsible for the redeemed souls in the room shined through the biting wit of each speech.

Rabbi’s birthday party reflected the enigmatic nature of Beit T’Shuvah.  It is a rehab that treats the deadly illness of addiction, but it is also a community with a sense of humor.  Beit T’Shuvah is able to let its hair down and poke fun of its spiritual leader, while praising him for his hard work, patience, and accomplishments.

p.s. Rest assured, the Rabbi took the roast in stride, so the employee count remained the same on Monday.

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TGIF? Maybe We Should Thank God on Mondays as Well as Fridays


TGIM: Thank God It’s Monday!

By M. Alexander

Growing up, I hated Mondays.  I hated school. I hated the days I had to go to school, come home and do homework, go to bed early so that I could wake up the next morning for a new day of monotony.  All week, I looked forward to the weekend—a time with no responsibility, a time to watch television, a time to do nothing.

Later in life, when I was using heroin, all days were the same.  It did not matter whether it was Saturday or Monday.  If I had dope, it was a good day.  If I didn’t, it was a bad day.

My perception of each day’s merits changed yet again when I first got to Beit T’Shuvah. I began to dread the weekend.  Nobody was here.  They were with their girlfriends and boyfriends, husbands and wives, at the beach or in the mountains.  Monday would come and I would again be occupied by groups and comforted by friends.

Now that I have a job and a girlfriend, I again look forward to the weekend.  I get to unwind from my job. I get to read. I get to watch movies. I get to relax.

There is nothing wrong with looking forward to the weekend.  But why do I now dread Mondays and dislike Tuesdays?  Why am I annoyed by Wednesdays and frustrated by Thursdays? Monday never did anything to me. Tuesday never stabbed me in the back.  Wednesday never talked trash to me.  Thursday never slept with my wife.

In order to live a happy, healthy, and productive life, I need to learn to look forward to each day, to find the unique quality present in each hour.  I need to stop escaping to a specific time frame—thinking it will all be better in a few days.   Today is a good day if I make it a good day.

Monday morning, I need to shift my perception, looking forward to the new week as an opportunity for growth, as a chance to add motivation to my purpose and invigorate my passion with a newfound vitality.  Tuesday, I will do the work.  Wednesday, I will make sure that my work is fresh and exciting.  Thursday, I will help another person with something they are struggling with, something that I am in a unique position to help them with.  Friday, I will look at what I’ve done, finish what needs to be finished, and I will TGIF, making sure that three days later, I don’t forget to TGIM.

So I challenge you: How do you make today special?  How do you look forward to the present?

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10 Answers on Dating, Sex, Age, Gender, Religion, Faith, Sobriety, and Rules


By M. Alexander

This week, I have spent a lot of time speaking with Ilana Angel, writer of “Keeping the Faith”, The Jewish Journal’s most popular blog.  Ilana writes a lot about dating—she is a single, 45 year old mother.  I am a single, 22 year old recovering heroin addict.  We began to discuss dating, relationships, and sex—immediately realizing our many differences. She called me “Pig.”  I called her “Neurotic.”  We decided to each answer a series of dating-related questions—are we really so different?

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WHAT DO YOU THINK TO YOURSELF BEFORE YOU MEET YOUR DATE?

MICHAEL: Sometimes I think, “Damn, I’m handsome, smart, and charming.  If she doesn’t fall for me, she’s probably dense and blind.”  Other times I think “What was she thinking when she agreed to go out with me?  She probably just wants a free dinner.  She probably feels bad for me.”

But I’m becoming more successful at clearing my mind before a date.  I usually stay busy until right before I have to leave, attempting to go into a date without anxiety.  I try not to judge myself or judge my date as either prettier than me, dumber than me, or more desperate than me.

If I go into the date without expectations and let things flow effortlessly, everything usually goes smoothly.  I can then be more honest about whether or not we have a connection and we can mutually decide whether we want to see each other again.

ILANA: I case the joint for emergency exits, make sure I have a girlfriend scheduled to call me 30 minutes in should I need an emergency exit, pray to God I have not made a bad decision and am about to meet someone unsafe, order a drink, pop a TicTac and hope for the best.

HOW MANY DATES BEFORE YOU SHOULD HAVE SEX?

MICHAEL: I don’t have any pre-set guideline.  If the girl wants to wait 3 months, I’ll wait three months.  If the first date naturally leads to immediate sex, I am not going to throw her off of me.

ILANA:  I have waited and not waited and it does not change how I feel about myself, or the man I am with.  When I was young I was tormented if I slept with someone too soon, but now, in my 40’s, I am more forgiving of myself and allow myself to live and enjoy sex as part of my life.

WHAT’S ON YOUR LIST OF “DEAL BREAKERS?”

MICHAEL: I like to think I’m pretty open-minded, but no pre-ops or post-ops.  And if she believes that she was a man in their past life? —I’m not sure what I’d do.  Convicted felons? No problem, as long as she’s interesting.

ILANA:  There are certainly things that I am not interested in at this stage of my life, but I would not categorize them as deal breakers becasuse they are simply not an option.  I only date men who are Jewish, but Jewish is not a deal breaker as much as it is a preference.

I also am not interested in dating a man with young children as my son is getting ready to leave the nest and I want to embrace the freedom.  Again, I would not date someone with really young kids so it’s a preference, not a deal breaker.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT JDATE AND ONLINE DATING?

MICHAEL: I’d rather meet someone organically. I guess I’m old-school in that respect.  But I am not opposed to dating sites.  I just haven’t gotten to that point yet.  Maybe it is because I don’t want to vulnerably expose myself in a public forum.  No.  That can’t be the reason.  I’m fairly well-practiced in the art of public exposure.  I think I’m just too lazy and have too much false pride to set up a profile.

ILANA:  JDate is a hell train that I will never ride again, and online dating as a whole is a necessary evil.  It can be scary and dangerous, but so is any way you meet someone.  I don’t go to clubs, and I work from home, so I date online because my options are limited.  I have had enough success with it that I am able to continue.  I’ve become a little jaded, but remain hopeful.

WHO PAYS FOR A FIRST DATE?

MICHAEL:  It depends.  If I ask her out, it is my responsibility to pay.  She agreed to go out with me and I want to show my gratitude and treat her gallantly—I want her to know that I am a gentleman, but I also don’t want to seem like I am just trying to “win” her.

If she asks me out, it is a trickier situation—especially if she chooses the restaurant. I may not be able to afford it.  I’ll make sure that I have enough to cover the tab, but I think she should offer to pay her portion.  Then, I can tell her not to worry about it.  If she insists, I don’t stand in her way.  Instead, I say that I will buy ice cream/coffee after dinner—this stops the fight over the bill and guarantees a dating continuance.

After the first date, it is dependent upon more factors; it becomes more complicated.  Footing the bill is not the only way to show my chivalrous nature—holding the door, listening to what she says, and respecting her boundaries are more gentlemanly than picking up the tab.

ILANA:  If I invite a man out, I will pay.  Most men will not allow it, but I still offer.  If I am asked out, then the man will generally pay.  If asked to go dutch, I will happily pitch in.  Money is never really a discussion or issue when dating at my age.

DO YOU DRINK ON A DATE?

MICHAEL: I don’t drink.  I am a recovering alcoholic.  But I don’t mind if my date orders something while we are out.  It truly doesn’t bother me.  If it did, I would tell her.  Last night, I went out with someone who ordered a vodka tonic.  I ordered a diet coke.  She asked why I am not drinking and I told her the truth, without trying to shy away or hide.

It didn’t seem to bother her. And if it did, c’est la vie.  It’s better to get it out in the open on the first date than the fifth.  But if you are going out with an alcoholic, I suggest that you respect their disease and don’t drink—at least on the first date.  It is just more respectful.

ILANA:  I am a very lightweight drinker.  Two cocktails and I do not have a clear ability to make the right decisions.  I generally stay away from drinking until I know the man, feel safe, and can relax a little.  On a first date one glass of wine is my limit and I will nurse it over 2 hours.  If I am on a date with someone who does not drink, then neither will I.

IS AGE A FACTOR WHEN DATING?

MICHAEL: I have a lot in common with many women who are much older than me, just as I have little in common with many women my age.  Maturity is much more important.  I would love to date a 35 year-old woman.  I would also date an 18 year old.  Age is not really an issue.

ILANA:  Yes.  I cannot relax with a man who is much younger than me, or one that is much older than me either.  I am really trying to loosen up on this issue.  I would hate to miss out on a great man because I have a hang up about him being too young or too old.

WHAT ARE YOUR DATING RULES?

MICHAEL:  1.  Don’t take it too seriously: it’s a date, not a marriage.  2.  Don’t manipulate: It brings me back to my addiction and it never works in the long run.  3.  Be a good guy.  4.  Don’t make any more rules.

ILANA:  1.  Take it seriously, it could be your last first date.  2.  Trust my gut.  3.  Be a lady.  4.  Follow the rules.

HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU SPEND ON A DATE?

MICHAEL: I don’t make much money.  If a woman judges me based upon the amount of money I spend, she is not someone I should be with.  We can eat good food in a pleasant atmosphere and do something fun afterward all for under $40 dollars.  If Rachel Ray can eat for under $40 a day, I can certainly charm someone without much money.  The best dates I’ve been on have been the cheapest.  I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not.  But when I spend more money, the date seems to be worse.  I don’t want to buy her, I want to charm her.

ILANA:  It does not matter, just have a good time.  If he can’t pay, I can.

DO FAITH AND RELIGION FACTOR INTO YOUR DATING LIFE?

MICHAEL:  Faith and religion do not come into play when I am casually dating somebody.  I can connect with an atheist just as easily as I can connect with a Jew. Any faith or religion is fine, just as long as she’s not radical or fundamentalist (though it might be fun to date a cult-leader for a couple weeks).  I haven’t ever had a serious relationship so I honestly can’t say whether religion or faith would become important.  I want her to have purpose and passion more than I want her to believe in God.

ILANA:  Faith and religion are important. That said, faith trumps religion.  I could not go out with someone who did not believe in God.  He must be Jewish, but he does not need to practice as I do, or have the same worldview, but he must have a belief in something greater than himself.

I feel a connection to Judaism, and am raising a young boy to be a man.  It is a tough job and if someone is going to be in my life, and have the blessing of knowing my son and being in his life, he should be able to share in our faith and help me to present Judaism to my son in a way that he embraces it.

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Ilana and I are both searching for attraction, love, and connection—but the way we seek it is quite different.  I believe our differences are best summed up under Dating Rule Number 1.  My first dating rule is “Don’t take it too seriously.”  Ilana’s first dating rule is “Take it seriously.”

We are living in different worlds.

Ilana’s World: Lovelorn Fairy-tale Princess Seeks Beshert.

My World: Recovering Heroin Addict Tries To Live Life

Yes. Our worlds intersect.  But the overlapping section of the Venn Diagram is still a small space in comparison to the parts that are diametrically opposed. We are quite different, but since I’ve been spending time with Ilana Angel, I am trying to keep the faith.

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