Oct 17

Eating Disorder & Addiction Treatment

Addictions and eating disorders are often co-occurring. Sometimes food is the thing one may feel most control over during periods of anxiousness and vulnerability in recovery from alcohol and other drugs. Eating disorders and body image issues which were never present or obvious in the past can also develop while in rehab. As maladaptive behaviors in relation to substance abuse are uncovered and discarded, new coping strategies, such as stringent dieting, compulsive overeating, or binging and purging may take their place.
While many of those who struggling with eating disorders and body image issues are women, it can be even more difficult for the minority of men facing some of the same issues to seek help. The process of recovery from eating disorder and body image issues may take some time. New and different coping styles must be developed which may include learning to tolerate new and painful emotions, acceptance of body shape or size, as well as paying attention to when one is actually hungry or full.
Most times, eating disorders are identified during evaluation when a person is just entering a treatment program during initial intake and evaluation. Still other times these issues may come to light through the skilled observation of therapists and clinical staff at a rehabilitation facility. An individual’s eating habits may be observed or staff may notice hearing negative comments about the food at the facility or about body image in particular. Individual and group sessions with the client may then focus on conversation that centers on body image. Learning to see one’s self in a more positive light, while avoiding negative self-talk about the body or food, is a start. The adoption of new, healthier coping strategies and attitudes can become key to recovery from eating disorders.
As in other addictions, causal factors which may lead to the formation of eating disorders and body image issues can be genetic, related to impulse control disturbances, perfectionism and control issues, childhood trauma and sexual abuse. Television and media may also play a role in a culture where many people are afraid of being perceived as ‘fat’. Misguided but well-intentioned family members may place focus or frequently comment on a child’s body in the context of promoting good health or eating habits. Many parts of the country have recovery groups for eating disorders, such as Overeaters Anonymous (O.A.), which focuses on issues like binge eating, anorexia, and/or bulimia. If you suspect that you may be developing an eating disorder, in addition to substance abuse problems, you’d be wise to pick a treatment facility that can treat both disorders.

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Oct 07

Checking Into Rehab


Accepting help and getting treatment for addiction by entering rehab is the first of many steps that you will need to take towards a sober and healthy life. Simply agreeing to start rehab doesn’t mean that your struggles will end there. The actual definition of rehabilitation is ‘the restoration of someone to a useful place in society.’ This is a goal that must be worked towards and maintained throughout the rest of one’s life.
As with anything worthwhile, sobriety isn’t easily obtained. For every high there must be a low, and rehab is a place designed to help you get through the lows and come out clean on the other side. It requires a full commitment towards recovery, and it’s a place where trained professionals and ex-addicts who have been through the trenches themselves can guide you, push you, and help you become the person you are meant to be.
Struggles with addiction can occur at any time in one’s life. It’s never too late to seek help for substance abuse issues. Once a person commits to checking in to rehab, it’s a pledge that will alter their entire lifestyle. Bear in mind that the world is not going to change, temptations aren’t going away and society isn’t going to sober up all around us. You are soley responsible for your life and your choices from now on.
For many people the thought of burdening themselves or family with debt prevents them from taking the step into rehab. However, many rehab facilities such as Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center accept insurance and are dedicated to working with you beforehand to establish flexible payment options that fit your individual needs. As no treatment program is a one-size-fits-all solution for living, getting the help that you need can in fact be tailored for you by choosing the facility.

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Sep 30

The Dry Drunk


Long-term recovery requires some of the most diligent work of our lives. In addition to not picking up a drink or a drug, we regularly make efforts to improve ourselves. This can seem like a daunting task. One must have faith that if he or she sticks with their program of recovery, they will find peace in sobriety. Those who don’t have that kind of faith in the steps may be able to avoid drugs and alcohol, but they might also not make much progress on deeper levels. This is what is sometimes referred to as a ‘dry drunk’.
A dry drunk may be a person who has given up mind-altering substances but has made no effort to create positive changes on an emotional or behavioral level. The term may also refer to someone who has started a 12-step program but is regressing in recovery. Without working the steps, attending meetings and doing everything possible to address the underlying causes of addiction, we can remain abstinent but still live in the same state of misery as when we were using.
The symptomology of a dry drunk may manifest in a number of ways, including poor coping skills and a lack of interest in learning how to deal with life as it is rather than how one thinks it should be. One may romanticize using, feel self-pity, find new vices to abuse or display impulsive behaviors.  They may also act superior to others or overreact to normal situations.
In a general sense, the dry drunk lives in a world of negativity and feels unfulfilled in life. Avoiding or emerging from a dry drunk a requires work on oneself through a 12-step program and the develop a network of supportive friends who keep us honest and accountable. Feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled is a sign that something is not quite right in recovery, however it is not a sign that one should give up.

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Sep 27

Sober Living


Many are familiar with the detox and initial stage of the recovery treatment process, which sees people receiving extensive psychotherapy and counseling, participating in group activities and learning important life skills that help form a foundation for achieving lasting recovery. More thorough approaches to treatment such as aftercare, sober living, and transitional living may be less familiar however, to those who have not personally been through the recovery process. Furthermore, it is important to understand how aftercare programs, sober living and transitional living programs may be of benefit in helping people further their success rate by building upon the foundation of the work initially begun in the early treatment phase.
Aftercare is a continuation of the rehabilitative care a person receives after the initial detox at drug treatment program. A successful treatment plan, particularly with individuals whom have struggled and failed in the past, usually contains some type of transitional or sober living component. These facilities, particularly Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center and Always Hope in Malibu, can be exceptionally comfortable and accommodating to clients. They can help them integrate into the community while providing a high client to staff ration, ongoing consultation with a professional therapist and foster a sense of belonging in a supportive, family like setting. Some facilities, such as Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center, will continue to make themselves available to clients after they leave and include follow up aftercare services to their alumni as part of the treatment plan in order to increase the likelihood client will be successful in his or her endeavors.
Sober living is usually intended for people who have recently a residential detox treatment programs or hospitalization for drug addiction, but are not yet ready to return home. This process involves the reintegration of an individual into society and the beginning of an individual effort to take full responsibility for one’s own life, central to which is the abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Individuals can move into a sober living facility after completion of a detox or short term addiction treatment program.
Clients may be required to participate in house activities centered on encouraging an environment of personal responsibility and learning or reestablishing essential life skills. Facilities such as Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center and Always Hope in Malibu employ professionally trained staff around the clock to attend to clients at all hours, providing counseling and encouragement in treatment goals. While rules at transitional living facilities tend to be far less restrictive than residential detox centers, active involvement in one’s treatment plan, groups, meetings, obeying curfew and house rules or routine drug screening, depending on the situation, may be required. Transitional living also usually allows for more liberty in regards to weekend passes, family and guest visits.
Always Hope in Malibu, as with other sober or transitional living centers, allow people more time after detox to regain their independence and learn responsibility. Moreover, individuals can remain in transitional living for as long as they feel comfortable and deemed to be progressing towards their recovery and treatment plan goals. Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center, by example, is true hands on aftercare, combing structure, support, recreational activities and community integration with in house professional therapeutic services and treatment planning and around the clock support. The extra or extended layer of care that sober living provides really does help to more greatly ensure positive outcome measures for longer term sobriety rates than detox alone.

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Sep 23

Mood Disorder and Addiction

A common element seen in many addicts/alcoholics is the existence of a mood disorder.  A mood disorder may be primary or secondary, as a main factor in substance abuse or as the result of the chemical dependency and resultant withdraw syndromes.  Correct diagnosis, identifying any underlying problems; education, in regards to how the mood disorder coexists in a symbiotic fashion with the addiction; and treatment of both the substance abuse issue and the mood disturbance, are integral to the approach we use at Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center.
In order to define and diagnosis a mood disorder, we must look for a pervasive and problematic history of mood disturbance which may be underlying a person’s physical or psychological condition to the point of detriment.  Clinical depression, the common cold of mood disorders for many an alcoholic and addict alike, often reveals itself in such maladies as fatigue (conversely sleeplessness) muscle aches, deterioration of cognitive or intellectual capabilities, and the like.  Unfortunately, many addicts suffering from any variety of these ailments may be dismissed as lazy, or attention-seekers, many times the presenting issues prevalent with substance abuse itself (hangovers or withdrawal) may mask some of these symptoms. bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse induced disorders are some of the commonly known ailments of the mind most frequently seen in addicts and alcoholics.
In the case of substance induced disorders, a direct connection must exist between an abused chemical and the source of physiological/emotional distress. This is seen at both the high and low end of abuse cycle and the behaviors must be directly attributable through observation as having a predictable and typical effect or outcome on the individuals’ behavior, a cause and effect.  This may be seen especially and most typically when an addict begins to experience withdrawal consequences as the addiction process begins to mature.
More common than not though, is the existence of what is commonly referred to as a dual diagnosis. In this scenario, the mood disorder is primary with the addiction serving to help medicate symptomology.  Often times, one’s drug of choice may be a substance which an individual finds best relieves, alleviates, or compensates for the symptoms of an underlying mood disorder.  For instance, a bipolar person who thrives on periods of being ‘up’ may begin using drugs more heavily, perhaps increasing the use of stimulants during a downward cycle, in order to stay ‘up’ because they identify this trait of being ‘up’ more closely with themselves and to the outside world and feel shame in not quite being themselves during down cycles.  This can be a particular hazard to people with bipolar disorder once they are clean and sober as well.
Whether or not a mood disorder is manifested simultaneously with active addiction/withdrawal and is a secondary consequence of chemical abuse or the disorder is primary, being masked or self-medicated by substance abuse, treating the mood disorder is of as much importance as treating the substance abuse itself.  Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center understands that an individual with a mood disorder that goes untreated is at a greater risk for relapse.
Our program addresses the substance abuse, any mood disorder that may be present, and more importantly, the individual.  If a mood disorder diagnosis is present and poses a significant clinical impairment to an individual’s ability to function effectively and progress satisfactorily toward rehabilitation goals, our staff will educate both the client and their family in regards to the various treatment options available to them. This aids the client in beginning to build a support system within the family by equipping everyone with the tools and education needed to help ensure long-term recovery.  Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center’s approach is an integrated model that has proven itself again and again.

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Sep 12



The smallest act of generosity can have a big impact on the way we view ourselves and the way we view the world around us. We start feeling calmer and becoming kinder to everyone, including ourselves, and we start to feel those benefits right away. By practicing generosity on a daily basis, we develop a giving nature that benefits ourselves and the people around us, which helps us work through the challenges we encounter during the recovery process.
A simple word or two can be enough to make or break someone’s day. We can use words wisely. Without being dishonest, we can be generous in the things we say, and how we say them, by focusing on using kind words when speaking to others. We should get used to giving compliments and saying a heartfelt thank-you now that we no longer have to live the lives of defensiveness and hostility that addiction left us. If we start practicing with the lessons of politeness we were taught as children, we’ll find that our days are filled with opportunities to say something nice.
Attending meetings, time with our families, therapy and our other daily obligations, our “free” time becomes more and more limited. Part of personal growth, however, is making time for others. Even if it’s a half-hour here or an hour or two there, we can show generosity by making some space in our schedule and giving some of it to help others. Charities, other organizations, and our community support meetings all need people who can give of their time.
We can show generosity through even the smallest acts of kindness. Offering to help someone carry heavy bags, inviting a newcomer out to coffee with the people we hang out with in recovery, or shoveling the neighbor’s sidewalk, whatever it is, our generous acts can brighten someone else’s day, at little or no cost to ourselves.
When we’re able, we can commit to performing at least one small act of generosity each day. Whether it’s with our words or deeds, we can give our time and care to someone else. By focusing on being generous, we wind up growing as individuals and becoming happier and healthier.

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Aug 31


Relapse Definition_Malibu Treatment Center

Relapse occurs when a once abstinent individual ingests a substance in order to get high, experience euphoria or blot out feelings and consciousness, whatever the reason. So, when it come to relapse, intent is everything. Some difference of opinion however, exists between different 12-step groups as to the precise meaning of a relapse. Two common definitions seem to exist, one held by AA, the other a commonly-held belief of people in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous.
The organization Alcoholics Anonymous does not require any particular viewpoint. When we talk about the AA view we’re talking about a way of thinking commonly held by members of AA, not any rules or laws established by AA. In AA, only the physical consumption of alcohol counts as a relapse, commonly called a slip. When a person with any amount of AA sober time chooses to drink alcohol, they are said to have slipped or relapsed.
Narcotics Anonymous members have expressed a belief that a relapse can take place without picking up, that is, without taking a drink or a drug. The concept of a spiritual relapse is alive and well in NA.  For instance, if an NA member suddenly stops attending meetings, stops calling friends from the program, or avoids their spiritual life and new ways of behaving, they can be said to have relapsed. This is in part because of tradition, in part because drug addicts tend to see their drug use are more immediately life-threatening.
However it is that you personally define a slip, it’s easy to see both sides of the controversy. Surely, taking a drink or a drug is a relapse, or slipping back into old behaviors.  For many in recovery from substance abuse, displaying old behaviors or avoiding new coping mechanisms like regular 12-step meetings is an early warning sign of an eventual slip.
Despite whether you see relapse as the literal use of drugs or alcohol or conform to the popular NA belief in spiritual relapse, the problem most likely lies in the poor formation of a recovery program. Relapsed individuals should take the incident as a sign of a need for change in the way they’ve approached the process of abstaining from intoxicants and use it as inspiration for a return to recovery meetings and literature.

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Aug 25

Treating Addicted Couples

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There is little doubt that marriages and relationships are impacted by substance abuse and addiction. Addiction has long been considered a family disease. It directly effects all members of the immediate family, often times for generations. Addictions can plummet marriages and families into chaos, both before and after substance abuse treatment. Being informed and educated about how a relationship involving addiction looks and behaves, along with active participation in treatment, may assist couples build a better relationship. Couples counseling can gently assist in moving both of you towards your goals…together.
Addiction encompasses a variety of emotions that are both unstable and intense. Life events impacted by addiction result in a great deal of discomfort. Some of these may include: mistrust, betrayal, rejection, and the feeling of being ‘unloved’. Causing others emotional pain is a by-product of addiction and once the addict decides to attend treatment at facility such as Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center, relationship issues still need to be worked on.
When an individual enters our facility, he or she may experience  many new emotions. Once detoxification has completed, addicts and alcoholics begin to see the level at which addiction has contributed to the destruction of their relationships. Non-addicts may need to recognize and take ownership of their own behaviors during the period of active addiction. Some behavioral issues which may need to be addressed include identifying codependency, rebuilding trust, practicing honesty, setting healthy boundaries, resolving the past, and learning how to forgive, to mention a few.
Seeing a relationship through the recovery process may take a little effort but it is well worth it. When non-addicts are actively involved with their own recovery programs, the relationship can continue to grow. Some of the elements of a healthier relationship which can begin to replace destructive patterns are mutual respect, unconditional love and acceptance.
It is not uncommon for dysfunction to attract itself. The Staff at Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center understand this. Some people will choose others whose dysfunction or wounding compliments their own on the opposite end of a complimentary spectrum. This process frequently occurs beyond awareness. Often times people are baffled at how they keep ending up with different partners whom at first seem unlike others they’ve chosen in the past, only to find themselves reliving dynamics of past relationships.
Permissive or enabling qualities are attractive to an alcoholic or addict, but such behavior may provide fertile ground for his or her continued substance abuse to grow. If the non-addict monitors the addict or alcoholic’s every move once he or she has returned home from treatment, it may also contribute to potential relapse. This is why it’s important for both individuals to be accountable for how they may have helped foster less than functional relationship patterns. Some options for recovering a relationship damaged by substance abuse and dysfunction may include comprehensive couples co-treatment, counseling, or separation.
Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center is unique in that we use a holistic approach to treatment, working with both the individual and their family, when appropriate or necessary.  We do this so people struggling with addiction can find the help, support, and resources they need to work on themselves and repair relationships with family members into something whole. Our location , one of only a small few directly on the beach in Malibu, provides comfortable, serene surroundings and a safe, tranquil environment for individuals seeking refuge from the wreckage of substance abuse issues.

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Aug 18

Managing Feelings In Early Recovery


Happiness, joy, or love can make us feel more vibrant and alive. Anger, frustration, and resentment can leave us with feelings of being overwhelmed and create stumbling blocks to progress in our recovery. This is particularly true when we have extreme feelings that we cannot seem to let go. Feelings of anger, resentment, and shame often led us to use substances in the first place. Our substance abuse was often driven by the desire to control the feelings that we thought would overpower us.These feelings may follow us into our days in early recovery.
The miracle of getting clean & sober does not mean that we are suddenly relieved of all the feelings that lead us to abusing substances. We have gotten clean; we haven’t been transformed into saints. But now that we are in recovery, we cannot run and hide in substances whenever the tide of feelings threatens to overcome us.
In early recovery, it is most important that we develop the coping skills necessary for us to get through another day clean and sober. Why we are angry, fearful, sad, or resentful is important, but healing the things that drive our feelings will be the ongoing work of our recovery. Finding a way to deal with these feelings in the moment is a skill we need to start developing right away.
Useful tools for coping with our feelings are taught to us in addiction treatment. Putting these tools into practice is not usually something that we can do all on our own. The illusion of complete self-sufficiency that lead us deeper and deeper into addiction has no place in our recovery. We must reach out to others and ask for help in working through our feelings and implementing these tools in our day-to-day life.
How do we pray, how do we meditate, how do we take a step back in the moment, how do we gain perspective?  These are all questions we need the help of others to answer. Getting help does not mean we are failing in recovery. The truth is that asking for help is proof that we are changing for the better. Asking for help is a significant step forward from the days when we thought we could always ‘handle it’ no matter how much of a wreck our lives became.
One cannot move forward with recovery if he or she can’t also move through feelings and make it to the other side. We can no longer rely on the false sense of relief that substances gave to us. Just like we could not get or stay clean on our own, we aren’t likely to suddenly be able to work through our emotions on our own. By asking for help and accepting the help that is offered we set the groundwork for growth and change that will carry us anywhere we wish to go in our recovery.

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Aug 05

Finding A Higher Power

Oceanside Malibu Treatment Center_Finding A Higher Power

It’s common, and often times necessary, for people on the journey of addiction recovery to desire a connection with a higher power. Sometimes, simply strengthening and refining our relationship to the house of worship from our upbringing can fulfill our need for connection with a higher power. In addition to rehabilitation treatment and support received from loved ones, this relationship provides a source of stability and support that allows an addict to heal. Through prayer and attending worship services, an addict with a sincerely held religious belief can redefine his/her life and gain a new sense of purpose. As addicts, however, we are often an irritable group who generally bristle when we first hear talk about any kind of higher power. But whether or not we are religious, we can be spiritual. Spirituality can be a personal journey within ourselves. But how do we start on that journey?
Our connection with the environment can awaken our spirits. The physical environment has long been linked with spirituality. In ancient cultures, the sun, moon, mountains, and rivers all had spiritually significant roles. Taking part in the life that grows around us and developing a passion for nature can be a great method to harness peace and purpose. A long walk in the woods, gardening, or volunteer work with animals, any of these things can give us an opportunity for reflection on our connection with the world around us and help to develop our sense of a higher power.
Giving back to others is a spiritual act in itself. Selfless acts go beyond religion and give us a sense of deeper connection the communities in which we live. Regardless of personal belief, giving of ourselves is rewarding both to the people who receive our charity and to us. Acts of selflessness create a virtuous circle that feeds our spirit and helps connect us with our higher power.
We may wince at the very idea of “meditating.” We’ve already had to get and stay clean. It feels like we have had to change everything in our lives. Now people are telling us that we have to become some kind of guru and stare into the distance until we achieve enlightenment. But, meditation is not something to inspire resentment or fear – although it often does for people who have never tried it. Meditation is a practice that happens appears in many different organized religions, but so is charity, and we have no problem separating religion and our own acts of charity.
Meditation is simply a method of being still and practicing mindfulness. As addicts, we often live fast, drama-filled, seemingly complicated lives. Meditation offers a simple method for us to take a small step toward slowing things down, if only for a short period, and feeling connected to our own existence. There are also several physical and emotional benefits of meditation. What is important is that we set aside time for ourselves each day during which we practice awareness of self and our connection to the people, life around us and our higher power.
We can make a connection to a higher power with or without religion. If we follow a particular religion we can improve our practices and improve our conscious contact. If we do not follow a particular religion, we can take steps toward awareness and connection that will yield spiritual dividends.

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