This Huntington Beach rehab strives to make recovery accessible and fun, using creative and innovative solutions. Non-treatment hours are filled with beach-related activities such as surfing, fishing, and volleyball.
Located just two blocks from the shore at Huntington Beach, Sober Partners offers residential drug and alcohol treatment in a comfortable and relaxed setting with a “beach community vibe.” Treatment is personalized, including gender- and age-specific programs, an executive track, and support for dual diagnoses. In addition to inpatient rehab, they also offer an outpatient program, aftercare, detox, intervention, a 1-on-1 intensive track, and more. All clinical staff hold advanced degrees. Sober Partners prides itself on making sobriety accessible and fun, striving to “tackle the drink and drug problem in an innovative and creative way.”
Sober Partners alumni who took our survey reported a variety of factors that were most important to them in choosing this facility, but treatment quality and location topped the list. Length of stay varies from person to person with most staying for 30 days, but others for 60 or 90 days.
Alumni described their fellow residents as varying in age, income, and drug of choice. They ranged “…from wealthy to having nothing to their name,” with the majority described as “white-collar” and “upscale” young professionals ranging in age from early 20s to 40s, and recovering from a variety of substances including opiates, meth, and alcohol. One common theme was that residents were “serious about recovery and treatment,” although one client felt their peers were “too high brow for me.”
According to alumni, life at Sober Partners is “very structured.” As one former resident recalled, “Staff kept us on a tight schedule because it’s not good for addicts to get bored.”
A typical weekday at Sober Partners starts with breakfast (and any prescribed medications), followed by “various types of groups always starting with some sort of meditation/reflection to set the tone for the day.” Lunch is served at noon, followed by another group. While groups and treatment make up much of the day, clients are kept busy with other activities as well. The remainder of the afternoon is spent enjoying one of the center’s many recreational activities such as getting a massage or working out at the gym.
“We were educated on the benefit of a balanced lifestyle that incorporated exercise and building relationships with our peers,” one alum said. On weekends, mornings follow the same schedule as weekdays, but in the afternoon “we would do a group activity that showed us that we could have fun in sobriety.” In addition to the aforementioned activities, clients can participate in beach and water-related recreation including volleyball, fishing, and surf or scuba lessons. Clients also mentioned outings to go hiking and shopping. “Everyone was encouraged to stay active.”
The newly remodeled accommodations are very comfortable, according to alumni. One resident who had previously been to other treatment facilities felt the facility was “nicer than I was accustomed to.” Some residents had roommates while others had private rooms. Everyone was expected to keep their rooms and the common areas clean and tidy, and follow “house rules.” Sober Partners is pet-friendly.
Mealtime was described as a “family-like atmosphere,” where staff and clients cook and eat together. Teaching the residents to prepare meals is part of life skills training. One person observed that “Some clients seemed to come from privilege and didn’t even know how to cook for themselves.” Meals were described as “Healthy, but tasty,” and there was always more than enough to eat. Burgers, barbecue, pizza, and salmon were a few of the popular items. One alum who praised both the chili and the meatloaf (favorites for many) liked everything and “couldn’t wait for the next meal.” Another “didn’t care for the tofu burgers.” For those with specific dietary needs, there is “enough choice for everyone.” Coffee and snacks are always available.
When it comes to dealing with infractions, staff practiced “firm but not tough love, more enlightened than that.” All respondents spoke highly of staff, saying they were “caring, fair and professional.” Clients who violate rules are assessed on a case by case basis with everyone being “treated like adults.” Verbal, then written warnings could be followed by termination, depending on the severity of the infraction(s). And while one alum pointed out that staff “didn’t need to be [overly strict] as we had a group of people that were serious about getting clean & sober,” another described them as “no nonsense, they will kick you out if not serious.” One resident indicated that a verbal warning was usually all that was necessary and that problems could be turned into learning opportunities: “The conversation ended with more insight into how important changing behaviors was in recovery.”
Phone use is restricted for the first seven days, after which clients are allowed one call per day. If a client wishes to make additional calls, it is contingent upon case manager approval which is usually granted…“as often as needed but not excessive.” TV is allowed in common areas or bedrooms at the end of the day after groups are completed. Using phone and internet for work while in inpatient treatment is highly discouraged. “They wanted to have individuals maintain their attention on their recovery by staying present,” said one alum. Once patients move into partial and intensive outpatient treatment, “a lot more freedom and liberty was provided with phone and internet” to help residents transition back to regular daily life.
Treatment consists of evidence-based approaches combined with an introduction to the 12 steps. “The program did introduce 12-step programs, and it was recommended to find some sort of self-care program to attend aftercare, however, it was not forced,” said one alum. Another described “a unique, broad-based approach.” Staff were “up to date on addiction treatment topics and procedures. Treatment is personalized, with staff “trying to find the right approach for the individual which I appreciated.”
Religion is not part of the program, but they provide access to houses of worship. “I felt respected in regards to my personal religious beliefs,” said one former client. Another recalled that staff would “work with me where I was in regards to spirituality and didn’t strong arm me, I appreciated that approach.”
Sober Partners employs full-time nursing staff and physicians on site who provide regular medical evaluations for all patients. The doctors were “Very helpful,” and “Well-qualified in addiction science,” although in one case, the “bedside manner could be better.” Most alumni had high praise for medical staff. “I was going through a medical detox & the doctor that treated me was fantastic!” “Love the nurses…Always there to help.”
Overall, alumni had high parting praise and felt grateful for their time at Sober Partners. “People there became like family,” said one. “They really try to provide something you’re not going to get at other treatment centers.” Alumni expressed the most praise for the staff, who “care about the growth and wellbeing of the individuals there seeking treatment.”
Most of the Sober Partners alumni who took our survey have maintained their sobriety since leaving treatment (with a few reporting a “slip”). One alum explained, “By utilizing the tools and developing a recovery foundation back home, I am proud to say that I have been sober for over 18 months!”