Sherry: So Carl tell me what makes Ventura Recovery Center so unique, so different than so many rehabs that are out there?
Carl: Well, I think we care about the clients. I know you probably hear that a lot. We care about our clients and one reason is all of our employees with the exception of a couple of doctors and one therapist and a nurse, everybody’s in recovery. We push recovery a lot. We do a lot of 12-step work. When people come into our program we actually get them sponsors. Go to a lot of meetings and hold them accountable to actually do this work. We’re also dual diagnosis so we do a lot of therapy work with them and we have a good therapy group with them. We have Dr. Rod Amiri who graduated a chief of residence at Cedar Sinai and we have a clinical team of, Robin who has nine therapists who work for her. We keep people busy all the time. I found being recovered myself and actually being busy as the key. You know if idle mind is a devil of workshop and all that stuff but the reality it is as you keep people busy so… We get up in the morning and we go to a 7am AA meeting come back do our chores. We do breakfast then they go to a ten o’clock group and then they go to eleven -11:30 o’clock therapy group. Then afternoon we go to another meeting and then we go to one-on-one therapy. We have one-on-one therapy and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We have boxing three times a week.
Sherry: I’ve never heard of boxing at a rehab! That’s awesome.
Carl: We have Jim Tunney. His dad was a famous boxer, he comes three times a week. We have speed bags and heavy bags set up so we keep them busy. So they’re occupied pretty much the whole time and they know when they come into our treatment center the idea is to work on recovery and not just to have a place you can hang out not do anything.
Sherry: I think you have a big community they get sober in other words they’re discharged you have independent or sober living which is like independent living.
Carl: Ventura Recovery Center we offer detox. We’re JCAHO approved so we’re board certified so we offer detox, residential after that then we go into transitional living or what’s called partial hospitalization and then to IOP and OP. At IOP we offer a long term treatment: 90 day to 180 day program and to keep them as long as you can.
Sherry: And that’s changing the life-style.
Carl: You know, the longer you can stay into a program like this the better off you are. Long term treatment offers a strong foundation in sobriety. No other people talk to you about this you know this yourself it’s about well that’s nice which can happen.
Sherry: That’s like when you just talked about you had to change their friends and that’s what’s so great about your program is they have this opportunity to not only have the staff to support them and build them back up but they have their community.
Carl: What we do in the community besides we do we have a basketball team, football team we have a baseball team. We had a basketball team that just finished their season. We didn’t win one game but the other team would have four or five they’d have five people on the team. We would have 20 people on the team we had 40 people come. 40 people would come for our treatment center you scream and holler and we you know we lose by 10, 20 points by 30 points but nonetheless everybody had a good time there’s a sense of community. We bought them uniforms and with the sense of community right now we have ..
Sherry: And they’re having sober fun which is what it’s about.
Carl: When you’re a young adult you’re 22 years old and not drinking and not using drugs. You think this is the end of my life. You know that’s what I thought at 40 years old you know there was any of my life I could never do it again. You could go out and show you have a lot more fun I know being sober you have a lot more fun I know you have a lot more fun not being drugged out and on heroin and then we can show on this and you know we can show them this. I constantly have clients all the time that’s to say they’ve never had so much fun and laughed so hard in sobriety.
Sherry: When I tell you I think 12 step meetings are a lot more fun than the al-anon meetings. I think there’s a lot more laughter going on in those meetings for sure.
Carl: We also have a once a month alumni meeting which is about 60, 70, 80 people once a month on a Sunday in the apartments. We buy breakfast and it’s a night people have been there a year or two or three to be able to come back and see firing the new comers and they’re inspiring the newcomers to do it and that’s really the key to this is the reason I put the emphasis on people that work for us are in there in the program and in the recovery is you know I can sit down and talk to a 22 year old and telling my story telling what’s going on and that’s great and I think he believes me somewhat but I also think he thinks that I’m too old and don’t know what I’m talking about. You get another guy this 24, 25, 26 years ago over to the 22 year old and said I was active where you were 3 years ago I know what you’re going through. You know I dealt with the same people I used the same dealers I went to the same liquor store. I know the same talks is language.
Sherry: He talks his language.
Carl: It really kind of helps them see there is another life into this and that’s really the key is to try and show them you know not to reach out for the drink or the drug to solve the problems. There’s other ways to do this.
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