Has it really been almost two years since I interviewed Joan for this blog? There’s always so much going on at Malibu Beach Recovery Center, and this fall MBRC's unique system for treatment of alcohol and drug addiction is expanding to a second location in one of West Los Angeles's most fashionable and upscale neighborhoods. It's called The Brentwood House. I spoke to Joan to find out more.
Pat: What’s the reason for opening the second center?
Joan: It’s two-fold. First, the Malibu Beach Recovery System for treating addiction has proven itself very effective, so we have a waiting list.
Second, many of our clients stay for extended periods of time. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) clinical studies show that those who complete at least 90 days of treatment have significantly better outcomes than those who stay for the proverbial 30 days. During the second and third months of treatment, our counselors and therapists focus on helping clients start a new life. That includes everything from volunteering several times a week, to writing a resume, to investigating job opportunities, to planning for returning to school. This is not as easy to accomplish in a laid-back beach town like Malibu as it is in Brentwood, which is conveniently located near Beverly Hills, Westwood Village, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica with their more energized atmospheres. At the Brentwood House they’ll be able to take advantage of anywhere from 12 to 20 volunteer activities that we’re exploring, such as Meals on Wheels and Heal the Bay.
Pat: And how does the additional 30-60 day program differ from a Sober Living house?
Joan: Too often, the return to daily life is a little too quick for our clients. Relapse prevention in re-entering the world is important, and we believe we can help. In the second part of our treatment program, clients are still in a therapeutic environment even though they are slowly transitioning back to day-to-day living. Sober Living houses do not provide therapy. Clients might go to a Sober Living House after The Brentwood House, and we’re glad to recommend some to those clients who are interested.
Pat: So all Malibu clients staying longer than 30 days will transition to Brentwood?
Joan: It is an option. But we think many clients will want to begin at Brentwood. The house is just lovely. Luxurious. Two of the bedrooms are private. The neighborhood is charming, populated by actors, artists, professors, lawyers, and doctors. It's literally a few minutes walk to some of the best 12 Step meetings in West Los Angeles. After the first 30 days of treatment there are cool restaurants and amazing boutiques and shops to explore. At The Brentwood House we can easily accomodate newbies and also those farther along in their recovery.
Pat: Will The Brentwood House offer the entire Malibu Beach Recovery System?
Joan: Yes. The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet, the Kurma Yoga program, the special nutracuticals -- all designed to raise dopamine levels. A stellar clinical team. Individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, an introduction to the 12-Step Program. There will still be yoga on the beach. Clients can go hiking at Will Rogers State Park and meditate at the very serene Temple of Self Realization.
Pat: Did you have to train all new staff?
Joan: We have been training new staff for almost a month at Malibu and will be hiring others. The staff new to our program will be working at The Brentwood House together with some of the Malibu staff. Counselors: Tamra Youngblood, Liz Winchell, Luke Ryan, and Myra Estes. Chefs: Johnny Handal, Yannick Marchand, and Sergio Galvao. Yoga teachers: Oleg, Shannon, and Jyoti.
Pat: I’m intrigued The Brentwood House is the only other location in the U.S. which offers the Malibu program. When will The Brentwood House begin accepting clients?
Joan: December 3rd.
Pat: It sounds wonderful, Joan.