Although I am not necessarily an expert in this area, I have worked at several Malibu Rehabs for the last four years and my answer is a resounding yes, if you are ready and want to get sober. With that being said, so do other rehabs that don’t have lavish chefs, $50,000 price tags and up, massage therapists, acupuncturists, spiritual coaches, recovery coaches, individual psychotherapy seven days a week, and statues of Buddhists amongst scenic ocean views that are beyond breathtaking. Yes, Malibu rehabs work for those alcohol rehab patients who are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Recovery is not for people who need it but for people who want it no matter where you go get sober.
So why the fuss in tabloids when Charlie Sheen, one of the highest paid television actors, leaves a rebab to work on his television show? Why? Because there is nothing more titillating for gawkers of celebrities to watch the dramatic ups and downs of their favorite Hollywood icon. It normalizes their own dysfunctional lives of drug and alcohol abuse or addiction.
I truly believe Malibu Rehabs are there for a certain clientele. I am more interested in planting “seeds” than worrying about how luxurious a treatment facility is. I have not always agreed with some of the lack of boundaries these treatment facilities have at times when addicts new in recovery absolutely need them. They need to actually hear a “No” once in a while, which is something their enabling entourage protects them from. These enablers may even be the ones that supply the drugs and alcohol for them. However, I suppose if there were too many “No’s” than they might not seek treatment and then they are back to square one with no hope for recovery.
If a celebrity or high profile client is uncomfortable getting sober at a traditional treatment center that doesn’t cater to the rich a famous, so be it. At least they are doing something for 28 days other than drinking and using. Maybe not all the Malibu Rehabs believe in the 12 steps, which by far is the treatment of choice, at least they are getting exposed to the underlying issues that may be fueling their disease. And yes, some Malibu treatment facilities don’t even believe addiction is a disease. Although that is not my belief, different strokes for different folks. If a facility that is owned by an I Chi author who uses Buddhist, Zen and Toltec teachings as recovery methods, so be it. It may work for some and not for others, but that is why we all have free choice. It is up to us to us to find the facility that speaks to us. It may not speak to traditional 12-step believers, but one of the things you first learn in recovery is to be open and willing, so here is your chance. One of the first lessons I ever learned in recovery was to look at the similarities, not the differences of others in recovery. Here again, why not focus on the similarities so that whether someone is a high-profile celebrity in a lavish rehab or just someone like you and me in a traditional facility, remember the goal is the same: to get sober and live happy, joyous and free.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in Agoura Hills, CA serving Westlake Village, Agoura, Calabasas, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Malibu, Newbury Park, and Moorpark. She specializes in addictions, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety disorders. She also is a Life Coach helping her clients find their life purpose. She is a contributin author and her own book, “The Law of Sobriety” will be out September 2010 for Recovery Month. She is the Psychotherapist on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew on VH1 and has been on CNN, Inside Edition, Channel Fox San Diego News, Channel 5 KTLA News in Los Angeles and has appeared in the NY Daily News, Cosmopolitan, soon Body and Soul, E-online, and the Huffington Post. She can be reached at email@example.com or www.sgabatherapy.com.
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