Magazine article Addiction Professional

One Cut at a Time

Magazine article Addiction Professional

One Cut at a Time

Article excerpt

Don Prince's business focus has shifted from trimming hedges to trimming hair, but his life and that of his employees have taken on an even more radical transformation.


Prince, 50, knew he wanted to establish a "people" business after getting into recovery, and his location within the hub of addiction treatment in Palm Beach County, Fla., made his Serenity Styles salon an ideal concept for the area. Prince exclusively hires stylists in recovery, leaving it up to each employee to decide how much of themselves to share with their customer base.

The signs that Delray Beach-based Serenity Styles is not a typical salon remain subtle: The name of the business, of course, immediately carries meaning for many observers, as do some of the salon's marketing taglines, such as "Bring the body and the mind follows."

Prince's business, which opened in December 2011, is doing a large part to put a different face on a profession where recovering individuals often struggle to find a safe haven. "It's a party industry for sure," says Prince, 50. "In many salons, alcohol is served to customers when they come in.

High-functioning alcoholic

Prince, who grew up on Long Island, says he took his first drink in high school and experienced a blackout the first time he got drunk. After his parents divorced, his home became the "available house" for drinking and being part of the crowd.

As an adult, Prince sold landscaping equipment for a number of companies and also served as a volunteer firefighter, but never could muster the reserves to get help for his ongoing alcohol problem. He never had a DUI during his drinking days in the Northeast, but then tallied three in succession after moving to Florida.

Prince says he was never court-ordered to treatment, but explains that his physical and mental condition gradually deteriorated to the point where he eventually found himself seeking inpatient care at the Wellness Resource Center in Delray Beach.

"At this point, I was unemployable," Prince recalls. "I stayed at Wellness six months, but I left twice."

While Prince was in inpatient treatment, his mother died. He wanted to put the money she left him to good use, but didn't feel qualified to give back to others as a treatment program leader or sober home operator. Today he gives hope to stylists in early recovery who likely feel as lost as he did when he left treatment. …

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