Oceanside alumni praise flexible treatment which includes care for underlying mental health conditions, staff who go the extra mile, luxury amenities, and activities such as surfing and horseback riding.
“Fall asleep to the waves at night.” This is what you can look forward to at Oceanside Malibu Addiction Treatment Center, where happy alumni recall daily sunbathing and nightly drifting off to the soothing sounds of the nearby sea. Aside from the luxury accommodations, former inpatient and outpatient residents rave about the empathetic, understanding, hands-on care that continues even after leaving the center. “[Oceanside Malibu Director] Dave was still willing to do phone sessions with my Dad and brother after I left and keep educating them on how not to trigger me more,” wrote one alumnus.
Oceanside Malibu provides specialized programs tailored to each individual. “We offer all levels of care from detox to residential and PHP/IOP [partial hospitalization programs/intensive outpatient programs] and outpatient,” Director of Admissions Floyd King told us. The alumni we surveyed stayed anywhere from 30 days to nine months. The understanding and supportive treatment staff combined with numerous amenities and activities from dolphin watching to horseback riding result in an experience that alumni routinely rate four or five stars.
“At residential we were right on the beach so I got to kayak and go surfing every day after groups. They also took us to the movies one time and hiking. At outpatient they helped me get a job and we went to feed the homeless in L.A.”
The center’s website boasts an emphasis on treating underlying mental health conditions and other issues that can co-occur with substance use disorders, plus “one of the largest staff to client ratios in the industry.” Oceanside Malibu also focuses on rebuilding client self-esteem through participation in volunteer programs such as feeding the homeless or working at children’s or animal shelters. They also emphasize working together with their residents’ families, encouraging loved ones to fly out to participate in therapy sessions or do so through Skype sessions or phone calls.
Residents stay in private or semi-private rooms in a 5,000 square feet building with four separate decks, with amenities such as memory foam mattresses and tailored meals cooked by an accessible private chef. Housekeeping staff is always on call and there are seven bathrooms for six residents at a time.
“The meals at the detox house were amazing. Always delicious and healthy and my vegetarian diet was always accommodated.” Snacks, sweets, and coffee are always available. Other alumni described paleo, keto, and diabetic-friendly options. Multiple surveyed individuals raved about the healthy smoothies as well as farm-to-table Italian meals and ribeye steak. One person did not like the quinoa, but most reported enjoying all the food provided.
Residents were described as mostly young, 20-35, with some older residents. Though many are affluent, a wide range of occupations and income ranges are represented. Surveyed alumni reported everyone getting along well, connecting, and having fun. Apart from treatment, daily life included free time and available activities such as hiking, movie and dining trips, surfing, fishing, meditation, beach yoga, breathwork, and shopping. There is also an available gym as well as TV, video games, and the always-accessible ocean.
Residents of the rehabilitation center were not expected to do chores, however Oceanside Malibu also has a sober living program in which residents live together with a house manager and are expected to do daily chores. There are also job search and application programs to help residents transition back to their daily life.
Former residents also paint a picture of a treatment center that embraces flexibility. Though there are some strict rules and boundaries, as necessary, many of the meetings are optional and one-on-one sessions with staff are always available. Phones are taken away from residents during detox and group therapy sessions and computer use is monitored, but for the most part they are allowed a lot of freedom and given respect. “As long as you followed the rules (there weren’t a lot) you were always treated like an adult. I would describe the rules as based on common sense.”
Though the rehabilitation is described as mostly based on the 12-step program, residents were happy that nothing in particular was forced upon them. Instead, staff explained why every option was helpful. Religion is not emphasized. “No one ever told me I had to believe the way they believed. I liked that.” Groups and other treatment were praised as helpful for “mind, body and spirit,” with one alum expressing strong feelings for one group in particular, describing it as “raw but so right.”
When rules did need to be enforced, alumni describe a very humane and understanding approach rather than relying on tough love. “Even when I didn’t like some of the rules I always knew the staff cared about me and just wanted to help me finally get sober and stay that way.” One alumnus in particular admitted to breaking the rules once and that “other places have thrown me out but they treated me like a human being.”
Doctors and staff were described as being very accessible, helpful, and caring. The doctors especially have big fans among the surveyed alumni. “Once at IOP the doctor came weekly and was extremely helpful and friendly and always listened to my needs.” The staff in general was praised for being willing to meet any needs that arose and for going above and beyond when it came to ensuring that residents enjoyed a comprehensive and effective recovery experience.
“Dave, the owner, spent a lot of time talking with me one on one when I was stressing out and in the past would have just left treatment. I haven’t ever had an owner care that much and spend so much time with me.”
There were a couple of complaints about individual staff members, but nothing specific.
Best of all, nearly all the surveyed alumni reported that they have remained sober since leaving Oceanside Malibu. The only individual who had suffered relapses put the blame on their own avoidance of meetings and the 12-step program. One surveyed alumnus praised staff for letting them call and even do phone sessions with family after they had graduated from the program. “I haven’t ever been somewhere that offered so much support after I left.”
There were no suggestions for improvement among those surveyed, but plenty of recommendations and praise. One individual described a truly life-changing experience:
“I have been to a LOT of treatment places and there was nothing like this one. Everyplace else made me feel like I was a bad person for doing drugs. Oceanside taught me that I was someone in a lot of emotional pain that was self medicating. I shared stuff in group and one on ones that I have never talked about. I had other clients tell me they had been through the same thing that happened to me which was cool and I felt like they understood and didn’t judge me.”
“I finally have hope that I can actually stay sober this time.”