Danny Van Bomel is a tough New Yorker, having worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island in The Bronx, New York for 2 to 3 years. Also on his list of past jobs, was driving a taxi (sometimes while in a blackout) for a company that dabbled in “waste management”; the same way Tony Soprano owned a bar, if you know what I mean. So, don’t mess with Danny is all I’m saying.
An alcoholic from the time he began drinking, Danny had the usual troubles the disease can cause in one’s life. He found himself on the verge of losing his job, accumulating broken relationships, court fines and suicidal thoughts. His parents worried continuously about him.
Finally, enough was enough; and his parents evicted him from their basement. Danny thought they were being a little dramatic but saw only one way back into their good graces (and the basement): going to treatment.
Luckily, he had been seeing a therapist who, it turned out, was friends with the director of an addictions treatment center in New York. This man saved Danny’s life by convincing him to go.
On his first day, the director informed all the clients, including Danny, “If you leave, most of you will end up dead out there!” Believing that the comment was proof that he was hopeless, he headed for the door. Thankfully, someone grabbed him, told him to look out the window at the snow and 19-degree weather and said, “That’s what’s waiting for you!” He stopped. Briefly, sanity returned.
After finishing treatment, Danny attended 12-Step meetings. His goal: get kicked out. That way, he could say he tried and it didn’t work. A brilliant plan, but he failed to count on two important facts: unconditional acceptance of that program and, for the most part, the folks in that program are incredibly tolerant. They even got him a shirt with the emblem on it and the words “Shut up and get in the car!” embroidered on it. How fun!
In 2005, at 20 years sober, Danny was working in security in South Florida. Shortly thereafter, he began seeing a therapist who spotted a certain quality in him and told Danny that he’d make a good therapist himself. Being tired of the security game, he decided to try something new. Danny attended Springfield College where he obtained a Master’s degree. After finishing grad school in 2008 he became a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Shortly thereafter, he came to Turning Point of Tampa as a Residential therapist. Danny recently moved over to Intensive Outpatient, and the rest is history.
I asked him what he likes to do in his spare time. “Ride my bike as often as I can. I go to meetings and hang with friends.” Additionally, he digs some jazz, the Florida Orchestra, the theater and, of course, Da Rays. Oh, and bobbleheads. Don’t forget the bobbleheads.
Danny told me that working with the clients at Turning Point is a very satisfying job, but sometimes wishes he could just reach inside and rip the disease out. But seeing clients break through the resistance and turn the corner is very rewarding. “I never take any of this personally,” he told me. “I didn’t pick this job, it picked me, and it turned out to be a perfect fit!”
In conclusion, Turning Point of Tampa’s goal is to always provide a safe environment and a solid foundation in 12-Step recovery, in tandem with quality individual therapy and groups. We have been offering Licensed Residential Treatment in Tampa since 1987.