This San Diego luxury rehab provides customized treatment by highly qualified staff and, according to one alum, “Sets the gold standard for all other treatment centers.”
AToN’s treatment program is based on a collaboration with each individual resident to “Achieve a recovery philosophy that works in their life.” AToN (which stands for “aid to navigation”) does this by drawing from a variety of modalities: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is meshed with individual and group therapy. Add one or more of the various holistic treatments such as massage, acupuncture, and hypnotherapy and you can see how comprehensive their program is. They also provide EMDR and biofeedback therapy, as well as weekly breathwork and mindfulness groups.
AToN is a luxury rehab, but pretension is at a minimum: “In general, AToN draws an affluent crowd. However, I felt accepted right away and felt no sense of pretense or judgement,” said one alum. Residents range in age from “20’s to 60’s” and come from “different educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.” There is also a range in terms of “duration/stage of active alcoholism/addiction.”
Residents at AToN stay in one of five houses, “like mini mansions,” complete with pools and jacuzzis. All the houses are adjacent, creating a 10-acre campus/sanctuary which residents describe as “beautiful” and “peaceful.” Some who responded to our survey had a roommate while others had a private room. No chores are required at AToN other than making your bed and keeping your room tidy. The focus is on the clients’ individual needs and comfort.
Alumni had high praise for AToN’s homemade meals, describing them as “Gourmet and truly exceptional,” and “Like a 5 star restaurant for every meal.” For those with food-related allergies, restrictions, or personal preferences, “The staff goes above and beyond to accommodate special requests and dietary needs.” One resident felt there was “Too much ‘comfort’ food. High carbs.” But while you can find fried items and pasta on the menu, “Anything and everything was readily available in abundance,” said one alum.
AToN employs three chefs who provide a wide variety of delicious and healthy meals and snacks. Some resident favorites were filet mignon, ribs and pho. The seafood bar was another big hit, and, according to one alum, “Plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits accompanied every meal.” Outside of meal times, clients noted that coffee, sweets, snacks, and “A mix of healthy options and baked goods [were] readily available at all times.” For those who tire of the world-class gourmet meals, AToN takes residents to a different nearby restaurant every Sunday.
During their stay, clients at AToN are allowed fairly unrestricted access to their cellphones and computers during free time (television is allowed after 3 p.m.). One client appreciated being able to stay connected: “The freedom to access my personal life while in residence made me all the more willing to make my stay a success.”
Life at AToN is “Very structured,” according to one alum, “which is what I needed.” Clients attend group and individual therapy sessions daily. “The amount of one on one counseling is exceptional. You have a one on one everyday. This is what I got the most out of during my time here,” said one person.
In addition, residents are given their choice of activity each day, with options such as personal training in one of two onsite gyms, equine therapy, tennis, swimming, and more. Personal yoga sessions and massage are also offered. On weekends, AToN clients go on recreational outings such as “Stand-up paddle boarding in the local lagoon, playing miniature golf, visiting the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.”
AToN offers up to five offsite self-help meetings weekly, including AA, NA, SMART Recovery, Refuge, Lifering, and Celebrate Recovery. “I specifically attended ATON because it was not 12 step oriented,” said one former client, while another pointed out, “It was 100 percent open to both 12 step and alternative which I found very appealing.” Religion is not part of the program at AToN but in keeping with their policy of catering to each resident’s needs, transportation to outside houses of worship is made available to all who request it.
Rules at AToN are “made clear from the beginning,” said one resident, “but most don’t have a problem following them.” Additionally, “Clients are encouraged to work out personal differences in process groups.” When rules are broken, staff response is “prompt and judicious.” For example, “There was a young lady who was clearly high and then tried to frame her roommate for pills that were found. The young lady was immediately escorted off the property.”
Most alumni were impressed with the care provided by medical and clinical staff at AToN. The center employs seven full-time staff psychologists and four full time staff chemical dependency counselors, and every residence has a nurse present 24/7. Alumni described staff as “empathetic and caring” and “very sensitive to individual needs.” In addition, there are four EMDR-certified therapists specializing in the treatment of trauma and two biofeedback certified therapists who treat patients with anxiety.
“AToN stuck out for me because of the trauma therapies they offer and the high clinician/client ratio (1:2),” said one alum, who had struggled for years before coming to AToN. Others appreciated the individualized and holistic treatment: “Each patient was assigned a group of therapeutic staff which included two or more Addiction Counselors, one or more Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Medical doctors…The therapy I received from the group was better than if I had just one therapist.” One former resident was grateful for the focus on trauma, but suggested: “Start emdr prep in the first couple weeks so an adequate amount of sessions can occur.”
Detox at AToN is medically supervised. Three of the center’s five houses are licensed for IMS (Incidental Medical Services) which allows physicians to provide medical care onsite.
The majority of those we surveyed have remained sober since completing the program at AToN, and for those who haven’t, AToN quickly helped them get back on the right track: “I did have a minor relapse after leaving ATON, but there is a weekly aftercare available that you can attend for life, and once a month a therapist reaches out to you to see how you are doing and talk with you. It is amazing.”
Overall, alumni are grateful for AToN’s “loving and very empathetic environment” and its “competent and genuinely caring” staff. They credit the program with giving them the tools to stay sober and help them turn their lives around: “I highly recommend ATON center if you are serious about sobriety and recovery. Like I said this place changed and saved my life.” Or, as another alum put it, “Aton is the most amazing treatment center I have ever attended.”
AToN is in network with Anthem Blue Cross of California. This allows BlueCard members from across the U.S. to be treated as in-network (with the exception of Blue Shield of California).