‘Below Deck Med’: Captain Sandy Reveals Halfway House Director Said She Wasn’t ‘Worth the Paperwork’ After 100s of Addiction Relapses

In a heartbreaking reveal, Captain Sandy Yawn from Below Deck Mediterranean opened up about how a halfway house director gave up on her after hundreds of drug and alcohol addiction relapses. And the shocking comments the director made possibly saved her life.

Yawn shared that she would most likely be dead if she had continued down the dangerous path of addiction. She recalled that it was easy to stop drinking and smoking marijuana. But, staying “stopped” was where she struggled. And after countless stints in treatment facilities and halfway houses, a brutal message from the halfway house director changed everything.

The director told Captain Sandy she wasn’t worth the paperwork after countless returns

Yawn recalled being a young adult who struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction. But after “hundreds” of relapses, people started to give up on her.

Captain Sandy Yawn, who beat addiction, smiles while standing on the bridge.
Sandy Yawn | Zev Schmitz/Bravo

“I mean, to the point where people go, ‘I can’t help you,'” she recalled on Addiction Talk, an online talk show hosted by American Addiction Centers. “I had a sponsor in St. Petersburg and she goes, ‘Sandy, sponsoring you is hurting me. Because every time you go out, I worry about you.’ So she goes, ‘I can’t help you clearly.'”

“And I remember walking into a halfway house. And the director looked at me and she goes, ‘You’re not worth the paperwork. Every time you come in, I do all this paperwork and you relapse,'” Yawn continued. “That was in 1989 and I’ll never forget it. The difference was this time I had a job still, which I never had [laughs]. I’d always get fired. And I wasn’t actually in jail or in a treatment center. I was in a halfway house and begged her to let me back in because I had relapsed. And I thought, ‘I’m not worth the paperwork?’ I hadn’t had anyone tell me that. So that was my final time relapsing was that day when she told me that.”

Captain Sandy’s paycheck was her gateway to relapse

Yawn said the word “paperwork” is what struck her at the time. “You just fill out some paper, right? I can understand if a sponsor says you hurt me, it hurts me trying to help you. I get that,” she said.

“But filling out paperwork and I don’t know what it was, it was that psychic change,” Yawn continued. “And I went back every day and begged her, could I come back? There’s a place called Stepping Stones in Fort Lauderdale. I kept going back and eating free lunches and dinners, she didn’t kick me out. I still got to eat there. And she said, ‘You give me your paycheck every week.’ I got $10 a week to live on. And I smoked cigarettes at the time, that was not a lot of money. I had to give her my paycheck every week ’cause she knew my paycheck was my relapse. And I lived in that halfway house for six months.”

Captain Sandy’s life changed because of tough love from the halfway house director

Yawn said that was the moment her life began to change. “And that was my beginning,” she recalled. “And I went to meetings. I got a sponsor. I picked my sponsor because she drove a fast car and listened to cool music [laughs]. Because I wanted to be like her.”

“You know, I saw this cool woman driving this cool car music and I thought, I wanna be like her,” Yawn shared. “So I asked her to be my sponsor. Her name was Tammy, she was my sponsor. She took me through the steps and I’ve stayed sober. I haven’t picked up a drug or alcohol from that time. And today I’m clean.”

How to get help: In the U.S., contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

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