The Fleur-De-Lis is a badge with many meanings. Some recognize its original context as the dominant symbol of French royalty, and it’s often identified as the New Orleans Saints logo. Amidst countless categorizations of the Fleur De Lis, you may wonder why we at Boca Recovery Center would make this mark our official logo. As the founder of Boca Recovery Center, the Fleur-De-Lis holds more personal weight than that of a simple graphic. It’s a symbol I was surrounded by my entire life, preceding my addiction. To me, the Fleur-De-Lis signifies family, love, and perseverance.
Some of you may be aware of my festering passion for ice hockey, dating back to early youth. My father, a former competitor in the sport, chaperoned my brother and I into skates at age 9, and we both fell under the spell of the ice. I had a natural love for it, and from inception, I lived and breathed ice hockey. I looked up to my father in life and hockey, and I was going to follow in his footsteps.
When my brother and I were kids, we received word that an ECHL team, The Boardwalk Bullies, were dropping anchor for a game in Atlantic City. The ECHL, a minor league of professional ice hockey under the umbrella of the AHL and NHL, consists of hungry players with everything to prove in attempting to advance their careers (or forever remain in the minors) – and these games were especially gripping. My dad had season tickets, and we rarely missed a match.
One of the players for the Bullies was a French Canadian named Dan Lacroix. Dan had previously served as a fighter for the Philadelphia Flyers – an unofficial role in ice hockey that means exactly what it implies. My family and I had the opportunity to become friends with Dan and other players, and since I had resolute ambitions of a promising future in ice hockey, I asked my dad if I could train with Dan in Grandby, Quebec during Canadian summers.
To my relief, my dad agreed and Dan was thrilled to have me. Our families formed a tight bond, and I spent summers with Dan improving my skills – it was like my family grew larger. One summer, Dan came back to Atlantic City to visit my father and see the new house he had built. Dan propositioned the name “La Pals Royale” for our dwelling – French for the royal palace.
My dad got such a kick out of the grand embellishment that he infused the house from top to bottom with Fleur-De-Lis décor – he even went as far as to make customized napkins boasting the Fleur-De-Lis mingled with La Pals Royale. The house and that symbol both became a unifying emblem of love and togetherness, merging friends, families, and loved ones under one roof.
Summers in Quebec and training with Dan ceased to exist as I veered from my fixation on hockey to a dark, unforgiving hole of drugs and addiction. I walked away from my family, became surrounded by bad influences, and my dream of playing professional ice hockey fell from my fingertips. I abandoned the essence of the Fleur-De-Lis and lost sight of what was important – my family and my own aspirations.
In reinventing myself through years of sobriety and through the trials and tribulations of picking myself up off addiction’s floor, helping others became my new dream. I couldn’t play professional ice hockey any longer, but I wanted to be the guide for others and the hand that caught them before they fell too far from their goal. When I started the Boca Recovery Center 4 years ago, there was no symbol more fitting than The Fleur De Lis – the symbol of my hopes and dreams before addiction found me. It’s there to surround and protect those who have temporarily lost their way, to escort them back on the path to building their dreams.
Addiction is a three-part disease – it affects the mind, body, and spirit. The three segments of the Fleur-De-Lis addresses these three parts, and under the guidance of the Boca Recovery Center, we address your mind, body, and spirit, together with the power of family and with the power behind the Fleur-De-Lis.