Virtual Reality May Be Used To Treat Addiction

It’s not often you hear the words “gadgets” and “recovery” in the same sentence, but thanks to some innovative new designers we may be getting a technological boost to our industry. Taking a cue from devices like Oculus Rift, certain programmers are exploring the concept of building virtual reality worlds themed towards people in treatment.

 

In case you’re unfamiliar, virtual reality (though still in its early stages) allows a person to strap on specially programmed goggles and see an entirely different world from what’s around them. Similar to the movie Avatar, looking through the lenses could transport you to another big city, another country, or even another planet.

 

For the sake of recovery, the idea would be to send someone close to the end of their treatment into a potentially threatening situation. Granted VR could be used in many ways to treat addiction, but this particular model would allow a person to be tempted by creating “trigger moments” (such as a bar happy hour) without physically putting them in harm’s way. If they can resist the substance in the VR world, then its a positive sign they resist it in everyday life.

 

We know the concept sounds very far off in the moment. But at VRC, we consider ourselves to be very progressive with our treatment programs. And if there is a safe, welcoming way to incorporate Virtual Reality into our regimen, you can bet we’ll take it on.

Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol May Increase Suicide Risk

One of the scariest things a person can do, is mix their drug and alcohol addictions. A night of binge drinking is bad enough, but when elements like cocaine are added to the equation; tremendous damage can be done to the body and the brain. One other interesting fact to consider, is what these bad habit blends can do to someone’s emotional state. In fact, a recent study revealed that alcohol/cocaine binging can result in increased suicidal tendencies.

 

This past month, The Crisis Journal examined hundreds of suicidal ER patients from across the country. Of those, a drastic portion reported using alcohol and cocaine. Crisis interviewed 874 people admitted for suicide attempts and discovered that nearly 10 percent were regular users of both. They also discovered that, of that group, the chance of a repeated suicide attempt was 2.4 times greater.

 

After reading the report, there were some other interesting factors to consider as well. According to Crisis, age played a factor in the increased risk; with older users more likely to make more attempts on their life.

 

As we all know, addictions are often used as coping mechanisms for people with depression. The unfortunate truth is that alcohol and drug dependencies only add to those feelings of sadness and low self-worth. If you or someone you love is struggling to find happiness, we can guarantee that the answer will not be found in a bottle or a white line.

Using Chores As A Recovery Tool

If you look at a schedule at Valley Recovery Center, you’ll notice three ongoing things throughout the day. 7:00am Chores, 8:00am Chores and 7:00pm Chores. Why is keeping that consistency so important? Because household discipline is essential (in our opinion, at least) for beating a devastating addiction.

 

Household chores help our patients on multiple levels. For one thing, they add structure to a life that, for the most part, is coming from chaos. They also are a positive distraction, allowing guests to focus on tasks like doing dishes, sweeping floors and so on. And believe it or not, chores can be very rewarding too, especially after a job well done.

 

A morning routine can consist of tasks such as making the bed, cleaning the bathroom and helping to prepare breakfast. In the evening, there is time set aside for Personal Chores, which are assigned and completed on an individual basis.

 

The discipline angle is very important too. Keeping to a strict chore schedule allows our patients to meet commitments and create habits that lead to success. It’s not necessarily important that the lawn is raked, it’s important that you dedicated yourself to doing the task and completed it.

 

Remember those famous scenes in The Karate Kid? Daniel San spent many hours painting the fence and waxing the car. These so-called “mundane” tasks actually taught him to be a better warrior, which mirrors our sentiment completely.

 

New Research Shows The Devastating Affects Of Alcohol

Education can be a powerful tool when helping someone battle an addiction. Often times an alcoholic will think their hangovers are just a temporary ailment, or their nightly six-pack isn’t doing any serious damage. WRONG. The truth is beer, wine and liquor can have a tremendous long-term impact on the body and the brain.

 

Business Insider recently built an informative infographic, highlighting our vital organs and the trauma they receive from drunkenness. For example, prolonged drinking can destroy the neurons in our brains and damage how we process information. There are even links between alcoholism and dementia.

 

How about the heart? This is where binge drinking can be fatal. When we consume too much alcohol at one time, we lower our heart rate and our breathing (a symptom of the “tipsy” feeling). The stomach isn’t immune either, with longterm metabolism issues and, when drinking on any empty stomach, the propensity to black out.

 

Not surprisingly, the most hardest hit organ is the liver. Chronic drinking has been proven to lead to fatty liver disease and build toxins in gut bacteria. Studies have also shown long-term alcoholics can suffer from internal bleeding, liver cancer and premature death.

 

Unfortunately, none of these statistics are pretty. But they are important, especially for the type of addicts who think they’re “invincible.” If you know someone like this, make sure they get help…And make sure they know the facts.

Users Turn To Reddit For Recovery

Just recently, we highlighted Whisper as a popular social media tool for people battling addiction. Well now, interestingly enough, the message board Reddit is gaining some traction too; particularly for its ability to build compassionate online communities.

 

Reddit is commonly used to discuss specific topics; with pages upon pages of message threads about Iron Man, Laker games, hip-hop music and so on. Well, buried among those “Subreddit” categories are heartfelt discussions about cocaine struggles, drinking relapses and prescription med addictions.

 

r/OpiatesRecovery is one of the more popular topics, with a headline that reads, “You Are Not Alone In This Fight.” Hundreds of people contribute on a daily basis, touting their fifth month of sobriety…or their near death experiences. This particular board is raw, honest and incredibly moving. It also (much like Whisper) contains an air of anonymity, which is part of what makes Reddit so appealing.

 

Columbia University Professor Dr. Rita Charon recently revealed her take on the phenomenon to TheFix.com.

 

“[On Reddit,] You’re not reduced to, ‘Hi my name is Bill and I’m in recovery,’” she explained.

 

Reddit also gives a voice to people who are still in the throws of addiction and need support.

 

“In-person support groups tend to mute the voices of people who are still in active addiction,” Reddit expert Tracey Helton told The Fix. “I feel that Reddit provides a venue where people that are still using can provide valuable insight into a conversation based on their own experience.”

 

And clearly the phenomenon is gaining steam. Right now r/StopDrinking has 33,000 subscribers and r/OpiatesRecovery boasts more than 5,000.

The Wisdom Behind Wolf Therapy

Since launching Valley Recovery Center, we have seen a myriad of interesting therapies designed to help those battling addiction. But one of the most unique, is undoubtedly Wolf Therapy. Though the term itself may sound bizarre (and even somewhat threatening), we can assure you that it has done wonders for patients in recovery. So much so, that we are happy to announce its incorporation into the VRC treatment regimen.

 

First, a little bit of background. The “Wolves” in question are actually trained hybrids, groomed for therapy and close human contact. You may be surprised to learn that these animals are often used to soothe children and teens, meaning they are far removed from the “Big Bad” personas you see in films and cartoons. In fact, as Psychology Today has reported, wolves by nature are shy, intelligent and sensitive creatures (which allow them to form fast bonds with the patients they encounter).

 

“Wolves are so powerful and so gentle and caring,” Wolf Connection rep Renee Dutcher told the site. “When they work with teens and young adults who feel lost, unloved or like they aren’t worth anything, these animals will go right up to them and let them know they’re just as important as anyone else.”

 

The Wolf Connection org is one of the champions of this therapy and can vouch for its continued success. Research has shown that the caring, nonjudgmental temperament of these animals can help guarded former addicts let down their defenses and form true bonds.

 

As Wolf Connection founder Teo Alfero explained,  the animals excel at breaking down defenses and starting the healing process.

 

“Researchers suggest that after so many generations of co-evolution, our connection with wolves is at the DNA level, meaning that when you see one of these animals, you have a natural instinct to connect and to nurture and to bond,” he explained. “This takes all of the clients we’ve worked with immediately to a primal level beneath all of the abuse, neglect or negative learned behavior. At this primal level, there’s a natural openness to connect with these animals and to consider a new way of being.”

 

We are proud to be working with one of the top Wolf  Therapy outlets in California. To find out more about our new program, call us at (866) 986-2486.

 

Dax Shepard Draws Comparisons Between Addiction And Abuse

We have to hand it to actor Dax Shepard. The former MTV star was extremely candid in a recent interview with GOOD.com, opening up about his past addictions and the sexual abuse he suffered as a child. The most interesting thing, however, was his comparison of  the two incidents.

 

Shepard brought up the point that victims of sexual assault are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. His initial abuse happened at age seven, by a male family member.

 

“It took me 12 years to tell anyone that,” Dax bravely admitted. “Then all that time, I was like, A) ‘It’s my fault.’ As generic as that is…And, I’m gay. I must have manifested this because I’m secretly gay.’ I had all these insane thoughts for 11 years or 12 years.”

 

He went on to explain how wrestling with those difficult emotions sent him into an addictive spiral.

 

“I just loved to get f—ed-up—drinking, cocaine, opiates, marijuana, diet pills, pain pills, everything. Mostly my love was Jack Daniel’s and cocaine. I lived for going down the rabbit hole of meeting weird people. Of course, come Monday I would be tallying up all the different situations, and each one was progressively more dangerous. I got lucky in that I didn’t go to jail.”

 

These days, however, Shepard has become a shining success story. Not only has he kicked all of his addictive habits, he has become a father and an outspoken advocate for sexual abuse victims. We applaud Dax’s efforts and are hopeful they will encourage people in similar circumstances to reach out and get help.

California Lawmakers Put A Halt On Powdered Alcohol

If you ask us, the term “powdered alcohol” immediately brings about negative connotations. Just imagine the harm it can do slipped into existing cocktails or as a cut up as a  line on a mirror. That’s why we are applauding the California State Senate for halting this epidemic before it has a chance to begin.

 

This month, lawmakers voted unanimously to ban the substance from our state. Known commonly as “Palcohol,”it has been the subject of major controversy. Prior to the CA vote, 27 additional states had it outlawed in their regions.

 

Senator Bob Huff from San Dimas led the charge locally, emphasizing Palcohol’s dangers (specifically among children and teens).

 

“Alcohol is already abused by underage kids and drinking responsibly is a challenge for many adults,” Huff told a Sacramento outlet. “Adding powdered alcohol to this potent mix is akin to squirting gasoline on a wildfire. This is a problem that California does not need.”

 

For the record, Palcohol comes freeze dried in a small pouch and has the potency of one tequila shot. Critics have come down hard against the substance, with some labeling it the “Kool-Aid of teenage binge drinking.”

 

We, for one, agree, especially since we know firsthand the damage alcohol does in liquid form. Adding one more variation could make the struggle that much harder for someone in the throws of addiction.

 

Clothing Line Seeks To Help Those Battling Addiction

What better way to show support for someone battling addiction than by plastering their message on your chest? Tennessee clothing brand “kred” is taking that philosophy to heart, with a line of shirts, hoodies and  hats that benefit the recovery industry.

 

As explained on their website, kred (pronounced “creed”) was created by a group of friends who have gone through rehabilitation and conquered their addictions. Hoping to help others in need, they launched the line with a clear mission. Specifically, they are donating portions of all sales to recovery-related communities.

 

“All of the members of our group have struggled with drug addiction and were able to get into recovery,” co-founder Chad Gibson told Knoxville outlet WATE. “So the whole purpose of this brand is to raise awareness and reduce the stigma. We take part  of the money we earn and use it to give back and help people. We help people get into halfway houses, get lined up with treatment and make lots of donations to local recovery centers.”

 

Beyond the charitable nature of kred, we are happy to report that they actually make some really great clothes! Visit their site and you’ll find uniquely-designed baseball tees, backpacks, key chains and  more, all for competitive prices. But, as we mentioned before, the best part of all is that you’ll be giving back to people in need.

 

Click below to watch the full interview with founders Chad Gibson and Jimi Judiscak.

 

 

‘Saturday Night Live’ Criticized For Heroin Skit

Laughter is an essential element of recovery. But, laughing “at” an addiction or satirizing people suffering does cross a line. As we’ve mentioned previously, there is a massive opioid epidemic happening in the country right now. People are dying, families are being torn apart and government officials are even stepping in to take action. In our opinion, this is not a topic to poke fun at…But Saturday Night Live seems to feel differently.

 

Over the weekend the NBC comedy show aired a “Heroin AM” sketch, comparing hardcore opioids to ordinary cough medicine. Housewives, soccer coaches and business people laughed about their habit and proudly touted a pill that can give them their “fix” during the morning hours.

 

 

Not surprisingly, the faux commerical has already received a large amount of backlash. One woman, Renee Cotton, took her opinions to Change.org and started a petition to get the network and SNL producers to apologize.

 

“[The skit showed] utter disrespect to those currently struggling daily with drug addiction and to those who have lost someone to heroin previously,” she wrote.

 

Cotton also created a social media hashtag (#takeitbackSNL) and opened a comments section, which has triggered some emotional responses.

 

“I have lost 2 of my 3 sons to heroin,” one responder wrote. “It is NO laughing matter. This was downright cruel ……..”

 

So far, the petition has gathered over 9,000 online signatures. Hopefully it will make people in the comedy world take a second look, before writing hurtful and insensitive material.

Coachella From A Sober Point-Of-View

This weekend marks the final performances of Coachella 2016. And while we’re all for going out and seeing your favorite bands, we know the types of temptations wild outdoor festivals can bring. That’s why we were especially pleased to hear about Soberchella, an organization that supports recovering attendees.

 

Taking a cue from Alcoholics Anonymous, Soberchella is an unofficial meetup that happens on the grounds of Indio’s Empire Polo Club (where the concert is held). At noon each day of the event, members sit together under the food awning and show solidarity amidst the temptation of alcohol and drugs. They don’t share real names with each other, but rather work as a support system for anyone needing to vent.

 

Attendees can learn the specifics of Soberchella through their Tumblr account, then coordinations are made via emails and texts. The founders (who go by the anonymous names of Bob Johnson and Jane Smith) created the outlet in 2009 and have emphasized that it is open to absolutely anyone.

 

“We just kind of went with it and it picked up steam real quick,” Johnson told a local Palm Springs outlet. “This was needed, we just happened to be the ones who did it.”

 

We certainly congratulate them on their ongoing success and are hopeful that future festivals will adopt the same type of support system. To learn more about Soberchella, visit their official Tumblr page.

 

The Psychology Behind College Drinking

Do you ever wonder where the line gets crossed between “social drinker” and full-blown alcoholic? Well, a Harvard Med School instructor recently released a study that covers just that topic and we, for one, found it fascinating.

 

Titled Almost Alcoholic, the lengthy report traces the origins of several severe alcoholics and discovered (surprise, surprise) that their addictions began shortly after entering college. It reported that four out of five coeds regularly drink booze and nearly half of all students consume it through binge drinking (which mirrors some data we shared before).

 

Delving deeper into the college stats, Dr. Robert Doyle claims that alcohol is involved in roughy 2,000 student injuries per year. Worse yet, annually it’s connected to over 600,000 physical assaults and 97,000 sexual assaults.

 

Doyle’s diagnosis breaks apart a scale of student alcoholism. He believes becoming addicted is actually a slow progression that can be somewhat undetectable to those experiencing it. The once-a-month keg parties can lead to weekly bar outings, which lead to daily consumption and so on.

 

From there, the vicious cycle continues and, according the report, can set the stage for a lifelong addiction. We believe it is very important to take social drinking seriously because “an innocent beer” can easily turn into a very bad habit.

Pamela M. Hayes Joins Valley Recovery Center

PAMELA M. HAYES, MFT, ATR-BC is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) in the state of California and a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist with the American Art Therapy Association (AATA). Her specialties include: alcohol and drug addictions, relationship and parenting, depression and anxiety, grief, gender identity and sexuality.  She is also a court certified Sexual Abuse Evaluator and trained in Hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).

 

Ms. Hayes has a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design in New York, NY and Otis/Parsons in Los Angeles, CA and a Graduate Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy from The Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, CA.

 

Ms. Hayes is a noted speaker and educator, lecturing throughout the United States. She has taught art therapy courses at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), graduate psychology classes at The Chicago School for Professional Psychology, and she currently teaches graduate classes in Art Therapy at Philips Graduate University in Los Angeles, CA. She has written several books and produced several DVDs on Art Therapy.  She stars in the video podcast, “3 Minute Art Therapy”, and was recently featured on “The Science of Happiness/ SoulPancake” as the expert Art Therapist.

 

Ms. Hayes is also a painter, a 2nd Dan Black Belt and the mother of two daughters (now in college) that she home schooled for the first 10 years of their lives.  Combining parenting, fine arts, teaching and Martial Arts has furthered her understanding of discipline, focus, creativity and family dynamics.

Obama Works To Reduce Sentences For Drug Offenders

You’d be surprised how many people have issues with the way that the courts handle drug offenders. Addiction is disease, but often times it is mislabeled and criminalized…to the point where non-violent addicts and thrown into the same prison system as murderers and felons. Well we’re pleased to report that President Barack Obama is taking a stand against these types of injustices, by granting early releases for dozens of unfairly incarcerated individuals.

 

It is interesting to note that Obama has commuted more sentences than the past six presidents combined (per The Fix).

 

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And he is hoping his administration can do even more to release jailed prisoners with unfairly harsh sentences. According to the Prez, this isn’t just an issue hurting mislabeled addicts. It’s an issue that is hurting taxpayers and society as a whole.

 

“These are Americans serving time on the kind of outdated sentences that are clogging up our jails and burning through our tax dollars. Simply put, their punishments didn’t fit the crime,” Obama wrote on his Facebook page. “Most of them are low-level drug offenders whose sentences would have been shorter if they were convicted under today’s laws.”

 

It is hard to believe that a person caught with narcotics, who is genuinely suffering, can be sentenced to decades behind bars. Mr. President clearly believes in the cause and, as we reported previously, is a strong recovery advocate.

 

“I believe America is a nation of second chances,” he continued. “And with hard work, responsibility, and better choices, people can change their lives and contribute to our society.”

New Book Classifies Addiction As A Learning Disorder

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re heavy readers at Valley Recovery Center. As an ongoing theme in our blogs, we like to present interesting new books that provide a unique perspective on recovery. This week we’re focusing on Maia Szalavitz’ Unbroken Brain, which delves into the neuroscience of addiction.

 

Szalavitz was recently interviewed by The Daily Beast, where she provided her own commentary on the book.

 

“I want people to understand that addiction is a learning disorder,” she told the site. “If you don’t learn that a drug helps you cope or make you feel good, you wouldn’t know what to crave. People fall in love with a substance or an activity, like gambling. Falling in love doesn’t harm your brain, but it does produce a unique type of learning that causes craving, alters choices and is really hard to forget.”

 

Maia’s own story is a unique one. She had previously been on an Ivy League scholarship, bound towards educational success. But by the age of 23, Szalavitz had turned into a self-professed “junkie;” shooting heroin and cocaine up to 40 times a day.

 

Though Unbroken Brain does slightly touch into her background, Maia was quick to point out that is not a typical memoir. She looks at it more as a case study.

 

“People who become addicted are wired differently, and it affects the manner in which they learn,” Szalavitz explained. “We see people with addiction as valueless—literally, pieces of junk. But the interesting thing with different types of brain wiring is, they don’t bring only disadvantages. They can also bring advantages. Sometimes there are blessings hidden inside of curses. The compulsive drive that set me up for addiction probably also makes me a good journalist.”

 

If anything, the book is certainly empowering and does a good job identifying common traits among addictive personalities. To find out more about Unbroken Brain, check out Maia Szalavitz’ official book page.

ABC News Anchor Goes Public With Her Struggles

Usually, we think of journalists as buttoned up perfectionists. With their pitch perfect delivery and hard-hitting reporting, it’s hard to imagine your nightly news anchor as a closet drinker. But ABC News reporter Elizabeth Vargas recently shattered that mold after revealing a decade-long battle with alcoholism. And her goal now, is to encourage other “secret addicts” to do the same.

 

Back in 2013, Vargas voluntarily checked herself in to a recovery facility because of an alcohol dependency. And though she completed the program, Elizabeth found herself back in less than a year later.

 

As Vargas puts it, there is absolutely no shame in that. If you continue to need help, by all means go get it.

 

“I am really lucky, and every day I realize that more because I see so many people who don’t have family and friends who stood by them, or employers that gave them another chance,” she told People Magazine. “I am extraordinarily blessed.”

 

And Elizabeth is taking her experience even further, by becoming an outspoken advocate for recovery. Rather than bury her struggles, she has channeled them into a new book titled Between Breaths: A Memoir of Anxiety and Addiction.

 

According to Vargas, this will not be a rosy account of her alcohol struggles. Her hope is to educate and encourage people in similar situations.

 

As she puts it, “I think it’s important for any person to own their own story, the good parts and the bad.”

 

 

Movies For The First Year Of Sobriety

We recently ran across an article on The Fix that grabbed our attention. Writer Sean Paul Mahoney spoke very openly about his addictions and the challenges he faced during his first year sobriety. While treatment programs and recovery support were key components to his success, Sean also listed several movies that got him through some of the more difficult times.

 

Sean’s list included the critically-acclaimed Rachel Getting Married, which deals with rehabilitation and family turbulence. He also praised Sandra Bullock’s The Blind Side as a heartwarming tearjerker that put a lot of his issues in perspective. Blockbusters weren’t far from his queue either, with both Avatar and Star Trek making the cut.

 

Clearly there is no exact rhyme or reason for Sean’s choices. These just happened to be enjoyable films that helped him forget the struggles that pivotal first year can bring. Maybe it’s a movie from childhood. Or perhaps it’s the latest Kevin Hart comedy. Whatever the selections may be, these can represent a greater good and a real opportunity to let yourself escape.

 

At Valley Recovery Center, Movie Night is part of the weekly rotation. Our choices can certainly run the gamut, but (seeing how we cater to male residents) you can expect a lot of Marvel and Fast Furious flicks in the mix.

 

Are there any movies that helped you or a loved one conquer your addictions? If so, we’d love to hear about them on our Facebook page!

Rebranding The Recovery Industry

It’s not every day you hear about recovery in the pages of Forbes; but thanks to some innovative new branding initiatives, our industry is getting widespread attention. Their recent article highlights a very important shift in the way the public perceives addiction. Gone are the shameful “This Is Your Brain On Drugs” PSA’s and in their place are messages of empowerment and survival.

 

Speaking with a marketing rep from Recovery Brands, Forbes delves deep into the stigmas associated with treatment. That particular agency claims over 82% of people struggling feel shame about their addiction; and thus, have more trepidation about receiving help. According to their stats, only 11% of the 23 million Americans battling addiction actively commit to a recovery program.

 

“People are losing their lives because they’re afraid and ashamed,” Recovery Brands VP Melanie Haber revealed. “They don’t want to ask for help.”

 

So to change public perception, new high-profile PSA programs are being built. One, in particular, is the LIVES Challenge (or “Leveraging Videos to End Stigma”), which works as a contest and lets everyday people submit their own anti-drug videos. Throughout the next year, the submissions will be evaluated and the top performers will receive a $5,000 prize.

 

That certainly sounds promising to us…And a lot more effective than the old commercials America was used to.

 

Former Disney Star Dies From Chronic Alcoholism

It’s stories like these that are the hardest for us to publish. Often times, we tout the successes of high-profile addiction survivors. But it is important to acknowledge the victims as well, especially if it can alert those struggling to get help. Alcoholism, as we all know, is a vicious disease and this month it claimed the life of former Disney star Marque “Tate” Lynch.

 

Tragically, Lynch was just 34-years-old. He had spent a good portion of his youth in front of the camera, entertaining kids across the world as a member of The New Mickey Mouse Club. He later competed on American Idol and had several stints on the Broadway stage. But throughout it all, Marque was dealing with a secret battle.

 

According to TheFix.com, Lynch had been battling addiction since his early 20’s. After difficulties with his acting career, Marque reportedly began abusing Vicodin and dealt with bouts of depression. The drinking was going on simultaneously, ravaging his body so much that a coroner attributed his death to “acute and chronic alcoholism.”

 

If anything, we look at Lynch’s death as a lesson. Often times, it is wrongly assumed that chronic drinking won’t affect you in your 20’s and 30’s. But as Marque’s tragedy illustrates, the harmful affects of the bottle can take people down at a very young age.

 

We are certainly keeping Marque and his family in our hearts. And , if anything, we hope his untimely death can be a wake-up call for young people struggling.

Sober Living Homes Shut Down In Costa Mesa

At Valley Recovery Center, we have seen firsthand the success a sober living experience can have. Housing recovering addicts in a “real home” within a tranquil neighborhood leaves a lasting impression and takes away the shame of being in a cold, sterile facility. It has worked wonders for our residents and that’s why we were saddened to see Costa Mesa take a hard stance against these type of environments.

 

Just this month, the city ordered 33 sober living homes shut down permanently. They belonged to the Solid Landings Behavioral Health organization, which itself has had a long legal history with Orange County. They previously sued Costa Mesa in 2014, alleging discrimination against people in recovery. But on Tuesday evening, the City Council had the upper hand; approving the shutdowns with a 3-0 vote.

 

It is worth noting that Costa Mesa still has roughly 200 sober living homes and many will continue to stay in business. Solid Landings, in particular, was singled out over a proximity issue.

 

Hopefully though, this does not create a slippery slope. We are strong believers in the sober living experience, as well as upholding city guidelines. Before setting up our own Santa Clarita home, we were meticulous about every proximity and zoning regulation. We also have a deep respect for our neighbors and work effortlessly to support and add value to our community.

 

It is unclear whether Solid Landings will strike up an appeal, but we certainly hope some action is taken. Because, at the end of day, this ruling will leave dozens of recovering residents without a home.