HEAR DIRECTLY FROM OUR ALUMNI
We are proud that a proportionally high number of the clients who graduated our 90 day program are sober, living productive lives, working, studying, or volunteering. Most have restored previously strained relationships with family members. The majority integrated into their lives some or all the healthy new life style first learned at the House on the Hill here in Malibu. Some “slipped” came back for a “Tune Up” and are now back on their feet.
Those who were not able to maintain sobriety are in the minority. They keep trying, and we are always there for them. We are always ready to meet with them or their families, and take their phone calls. That is just part of what we do and who we are.
Here are some of the letters our clients have written us, unedited for content or length. We add new ones from time to time.
Edward Shut, addicted to prescription drugs for 10 years, spent 111 days at Malibu Beach Recovery Center. Edward now has more than a year of sobriety. He is studying kinesiology at Cal State Northridge, interning at a physical therapy center, and regularly attending 12 Step meetings. During his stay at Malibu Beach Recovery Center LA Times photojournalist Liz O. Baylen documented his journey to sobriety. Her beautifully photographed and edited chronicle appeared in the Los Angeles Times on November 11, 2012.
At Malibu Beach Recovery Center we are really proud of the success we have had helping clients whose primary diagnosis is clinical depression (often coupled with severe anxiety), and whose secondary diagnosis is substance abuse. We have been asked several times to explain how 90-120 days at an alcohol and drug program has turned around the lives of so many of these clients, most of whom came to MBRC after failing at well-respected mental health facilities.
From Xanax to Yoga
We asked Alumna Shannon Scott to tell the story of her alcohol and pill addiction, and her many years of self-medicating to cope with anxiety and lack of self-esteem. Now, she says, instead of taking Xanax to stay calm, she teaches yoga at Malibu Beach Recovery Center. Here is her story:
Actress Yancy Butler was living what seemed to be a charmed life. Born and raised in New York’s Greenwich Village and the daughter of 60’s Rock and Roll star, Joe Butler of the Lovin’ Spoonful, Yancy dreamed at a young age of one day being in the movies. By the year 2002, she had achieved that dream. A veteran Hollywood film and television actress, she had just finished starring in “Witchblade,” her own TV series and was fast becoming a household name.
With her best years still ahead of her, The future seemed bright but soon after the cancellation of her series, Yancy was arrested and charged with disorderly intoxication, the first of several arrests and like so many other Hollywood stars she would begin a very public slide into the depths of alcoholism, and the long road back.
Over the next four years, Yancy struggled back the hard way. Rehab, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, sponsees, step work, commitments. On the surface, everything was coming together and then, with the onset of excruciating and unexplainable physical pain, it all came tumbling down - again, only this time in a most insidious way. There is an epidemic in this country, the true scope of which is only now beginning to surface. It involves both doctor and patient bound together by circumstances far beyond their control. It is a cooperative dance of both honesty and deception fueled by an addiction that statistically eclipses that of any street drug. Prescription pain medication. The biggest drug dealer out there is no longer on the street but right at home in your own medicine cabinet and billions of dollars are being made legally off this addiction each year. Like Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, DJ AM and Brittany Murphy, Yancy Butler was spiraling downward into an irreversible abyss from years of addiction to doctor prescribed narcotics the worst of which were normally reserved for cancer patients in the final stages of the disease.
Thankfully, Yancy did not become another Hollywood prescription drug casualty. At the point when her body was shutting down she found her way to Malibu Beach Recovery Center where she spent 90 days in residential treatment, followed by 90 days at Brentwood House in West Los Angeles, 30 days at Cirque Lodge, and 30 days at Legacy House. Despite some ups and downs, Yancy, her family and friends all report that she is sober and committed to her sobriety.
Here are excerpts from an interview recorded November 24, 2009 during which she bravely told her story.
In May 2010, Interventionist Candy Finnigan brought Rachel to Malibu Beach Recovery Center. When Candy intervened on her she was homeless, sleeping on the steps of a Fifth Avenue Manhattan church. Rachel’s story is reality TV at its best, filled with fireworks and drama. Here’s a note received from Rachel’s dad just before her episode of the Emmy Award-winning show Intervention first aired on A&E.
"Joan, thanks to your help Rachel has undergone a complete transformation.
For the first time in years my daughter cares if she lives or dies, she
talks optimistically about her dreams and aspirations and appreciates the
gift she has been given. For the first time in years she lives in a safe
environment and is being looked after with her best interest at heart.
I sincerely thank "Malibu Beach Recovery". You have no idea the help your
hard work and dedication brings to families in despair. There is no greater
cause than to save a child's life. God bless you and your wonderful staff.
Malibu Beach Recovery alumna fights to decrease prescription drug abuse
On May 5, 2010 with more than 19 months of sobriety, Malibu Beach Recovery Center alumna Krissie Bergo, told her story to a press conference at the State Capitol in Sacramento held in support of SB 1071, a bill designed to fund CURES, a real time online data base that will allow doctors and pharmacists in this state to instantly check whether their patients are doctor shopping or pharmacy hopping. In 2006 Krissie, who never abused alcohol or street drugs, became hopelessly addicted to prescription pain medication. Suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome, RSD, and fibromyalgia, she went to a pain management doctor who put her on a lethal cocktail of pain medications, many reserved for cancer patients. By the time a Workman’s Comp judge intervened and sent her to treatment for alcohol and drug addiction in September 2008, her insurance company had spent close to $500,000 on her pain medication, mostly Class II narcotics. Krissie was almost comatose when she arrived at Malibu Beach Recovery Center. Her detox took 62 days, ten times more than most heroin addicts or alcoholics. Now Krissie still has pain, but she has found alternative methods of controlling the pain, and regularly attends Pills Anonymous (PA) meetings in addition to AA and NA meetings.
Nationally recognized interventionist Candy Finnigan, who appears regularly on the Emmy award-winning A&E reality show Intervention, brought Angelina Moore to the Malibu Beach Recovery Center in September 2008. “If I had seen Angelina’s episode on Intervention before she arrived, I don’t think I would have let her in the front door,” said Malibu Beach Recovery Center CEO Joan Borsten. “It was reality TV at its most depraved and shocking; mother and daughter wrestling each other, while the Intervention cameras are rolling, for a bag of heroin.” Episode 80 (“Angelina”) quickly became one of Intervention’s most popular segments. In a deeply personal interview, filmed exclusively for the Malibu Beach Recovery Center website after Angelina had already achieved 7 months of sobriety, the former cheerleader and honors student chronicles her descent into the depths of addiction, her abuse of the prescription pill oxycodone, her heroin overdoses, and her miraculous recovery. The Malibu Beach Recovery Center, which specializes in prescription pill addiction, uses a neuro-biological approach to restore and balance the chemistry of the brain, and rejuvenate the body’s natural reward system. This system utilizes very specific natural nutritional food supplements in combination with carefully selected yoga-type exercises and a low glycemic “Recovery Diet” to create a solid foundation for long-term recovery. Clients quickly and efficiently achieve a sense of comfort and well-being, allowing them to get the full benefit of daily educational groups, family therapy, individual therapy and 12-Step work.
To view the entire Angelina interview please click on this link: Angelina's success story
Intervention TV's follow up on Angelina's progress:: Angelina's Progress
Megan T's Testimonial
Hi Joan and all the rest of my angels at MBRC! I just want to let you know that I am finally "advancing" (graduating) from my IOP a week from today...the 26th of July...although the running joke is that they want to keep me until Christmas....ha ha. I keep postponing my last day.
I am 139 days sober today...and get this...I am actually starting to believe that maybe I was/am worth saving after all. If you remember when you met me on March 1, I was in a bad place...thinking I had lost everything and there was nothing left to live for...that I was a sad, pathetic joke of a human being and I didn't deserve to breathe the same oxygen as everyone else in the world.
You all helped me grow a backbone...literally! I am living almost pain-free today because I take YOGA as my medicine! Thank you for that. I know you had to push and that I gave you your own pain in the neck about it.
You all had to push me in one way or another. I resisted in the beginning. You cared about me enough to break the shell of a scared, hopeless little girl. You demanded things from me that I had forgotten I had ever possessed...like my ability to work with others, like breaking the bonds of self. You were patient but firm, and you did the impossible...you gained my trust. You really did. And in return, I gave you my awful truths. You held my hand with a tight grip. Funny, I always thought I might hold people's hands too tightly because I didn't want them to go away and I was always kind of embarrassed about about it....but each of you offered me that simple, wordless act of reassurance throughout my stay...and because of that I began to loosen the grip on my fears. Instead I held on to you, the other clients, the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and most of all, to God.
Things are going really well with M and I. Our marriage is strong again and he doesn't even question my sobriety because I guess the Megan he loved in recovery has returned to him. We are still working at it. I have taken responsibility for my actions and I know I hurt him terribly. He still has his controlling moments but he can't say much to me about that stuff when he knows my head is full of the Big Book and I don't engage anymore when those moments happen. And they are happening less and less.
I worry about him and his depression. He doesn't seem to have time to go to more than 2 meetings a month. I know I am powerless over him and I can live with that. I do love him. He'll get it.
The kids are thriving. I brought them, along with my Mom, to the waiting room in Dr. La Piana's office so she could meet them before my appointment a couple of weeks ago. Afterwards we went to the beach and had a great time...I have found a way of managing my recovery schedule and my family so that it just works. In the beginning after I came home it was difficult for me...so I prayed about it and asked for help...and what do you know...
Oh...I quit smoking two months ago. Nobody told me to do it and I wasn't motivated by any one thing...I just put it down and didn't want to do it anymore. I don't even have any cravings, so I know it was God working another miracle in my life.
I am not on a pink cloud. Life is a scary thing. I still fear the unknown and I don't want to get too happy about anything because that little girl inside of me warns me all the time that happiness and security can be taken away at given moment. But the woman that I have become has the ability to soothe that child, because she has babies of her own...and life is no longer just about her anymore. Thank God.
So that's my little update in case you were wondering. I am sorry I took so long to write back. I miss all of you and would love to come visit on a weekend some time soon. I have lots of hugs for you. I will never forget when I first met Joan...I started blathering on and on about my broken heart and she just sat there reassuringly and patiently...and when we got up from the sofa I put down an almost empty box of Kleenex and I instinctively threw my arms around her...like a child who hadn't seen her mother in years. That was unusual behavior for me...especially since we had just met. She hugged me back and laughed. She said, "Oh...you're a hugger!", and I thought, "Not really, but I guess I am now." Joan, I hope you know how grateful to you I am. I want to be just like you when I grow up...when ever that is.
And to my friends...my therapists and counselors, I hope you are all well. I hope you know that there are people who would be in the ground today had it not been for you. There are children who will not grow up motherless, parents who will never have to experience the grief of loosing a child, and boys who will grow up to be real men, leaders, fathers, husbands and patriarchs. You are not just changing individual lives...you are helping to better the futures of people you will never even meet. You are making a difference in the world. You are sacrificing your own vulnerabilities and attachments in order to lead people out of that graveyard of disaster and into a thing called LIFE. So when you feel frustrated with yourself or one of the clients because nothing you do seems to make a difference, and I know you have those moments, please remember me. I was willing...some are not. But your words and your visible attempts do not go unnoticed no matter who it is that you are trying to help. It was your personal stories from your own lives that made me open up to you. Thank you so much for sharing with me. I haven't forgotten any of it. I carry you with me. I include you in my list of gratuities and in my prayers. I deeply love you all.
Your friend always,
Sharon M's Testimonial
Forgive me for taking so long to contact you after leaving MBRC. I have been working very hard to set up a real support system for myself out here. I would like to thank you for everything you did for me able to experience your program and set my life on a different track. You are extremely creative in "making it happen" and I can tell you again what you probably already know. The impact you have on people's live is enormous.
I am not sure I fully understand why MBRC is so profound.
Perhaps it is the diverse, insightful and extraordinary staff you have handpicked to run the program. I would never have been able to handle 33 sleepless nights without loving, supportive people to help me get through that.
Perhaps it is the beautiful diet and the amazing yoga.
Perhaps it is the intimacy that is created by sharing these events with a small group of clients that become real friends not just acquaintances.
Perhaps it is the sum of all these parts.
My guess is that is more ephemeral than that though. I believe the healing resides between the lines and in the spirit of the program much like the spirit of AA itself. It is mysterious and exquisitely effective. It is much more than putting down drugs or alcohol for me.
It has put me on a path of reclaiming the parts of myself I threw away over the years.
This gift is beyond my expectations of any rehab and I want to thank you and all the staff for the experience.
My best to you all.
I arrived at the Malibu Beach Recovery Center at the end of September 2008 when my life was completely unmanageable. I was addicted to prescription pain pills. This was due to my chronic pain for my many failed surgeries. At the time I arrived, I was mixing high doses of fentanyl lozenges, oxycontin, methadone, xanax and many other medications. The staff at the clinic had never seen anyone on that many medications before. This was my first attempt at becoming sober. I wanted this more than anything, not only for me but also for my husband and my son along with the rest of my family. My addiction was tearing my family apart. I couldn’t do it alone and I knew it.
The staff are amazing! I took full advantage of their individual and group therapy. They have a yoga program. I was unable to participate in the yoga program and they designed a program especially to suit me. They really do take care of you! I didn’t really care for the food in the beginning, no sugar, low glycemic, etc. Basically, all I ate before was food that contained sugar. And lots of it. When I left, I asked the chef for a bunch of recipes. The staff would take the clients out to meetings several nights a week. We would also have panels come in on other nights. I learned and identified with many things they talked about. The staff was available at all times to help and support my family while I was getting well. In addition to my addiction, I had many medical problems while in treatment. They also saw that I got the medical treatment that I needed.
I spent 73 days at the Clinic. I can’t say it was easy, but it was the absolute best thing I’ve ever done for myself. All I had to do was be willing. I had the desire to stop using prescription pills addictively. My life is so wonderful today. My son has his mom back and my husband has his wife back. I’m almost six months sober. It all started at the Clinic with all of the amazing people there. I couldn’t have done it without you and the impeccable program you run! Thank you for giving me my life back!
Krissie, Los Angeles, CA
p.s. I love you Joan! :)
I arrived at LAX exactly 6 months ago today! It was after midnight when I finally got to Malibu. Sergei picked me up.
I had received a text saying “I will be in baggage claim with a sign. PS I’m bald.”
I found him. I had just bought myself a latte at Starbucks as I knew it might be the last for a long time. I remember smiling standing in front of him, seeing the sign and being extremely excited to be in Los Angeles, California. We pulled into MBRC and I felt so relieved that it was over. I had no idea what was to come. MBRC allowed me to go through all of my anxiety, bad memories, feelings, pain, experiences. Then more time to come out of the other side of it. I don’t know how to ever thank you except to stay clean. The 3 months in Malibu, the 2 months at Brentwood House was just what I needed. You gave me the time to heal. I am back in New York and ready to take on the world, especially got my daughter back. We’ve been spending lots of time together. Thank you for my life.
PS I got a terrific job selling cars with pay and commission. So excited. I love sales and there is so much $ to be made. I’m so grateful to Joe (the Manager of Brentwood House) who always said: “Stop watching TV or your life will pass by and you’ll get high.” As I was watching TV I thought, wow is he right. I was hired on the spot. Already went through training.
Congratulations on your 4 yr anniversary. And thank you again for providing the environment and professionals that gave me back my life. You will always be in my thoughts. Blessings.
All the best!
I just wanted to share with you that tomorrow, September 28th, will be the two-year anniversary of when we brought Nick to you for help. I knew so little about addiction that I thought we would pick him up in a week and he would be fixed. Well, I sure have learned a lot.
Thanks for your continued commitment to helping others.
Nick is doing well. He certainly has struggled, but he remains committed to his recovery. We love him and hope for the best.
Hi Joan, I just wanted to say hello. This is Chris B. I came to MBRC 1/11/10. I have stayed sober ever since and am doing better than ever. I am starting my own furniture and architectural metals fabrication company, I'm an uncle now- my sister and niece live 5 blocks away, and have found a very comfortable place in recovery.
I have no doubt that your program was the keystone to my recovery and I will always be grateful. I am still following the diet, which I've found has been very important to my brain's well being. I'm still trying to get back into yoga, but between work and meetings it's hard to find the time. I try to get to a meeting every day, every other day at the least. Aram has been my sponsor since the beginning and we see each other 3 times a week.
I am currently living at my second sober living and just wanted to personally recommend both of them. Bodhi Casa in Hermosa Beach was cruical to my sobriety. I couldn't admit it at the time, but I really needed the supervision and structure they provided. A strict check in/out, curfew, and recovery regimen really got me through a tough time for the first couple months. They even kept my phone, keys and wallet for the first 3 months! I think it was really important to be around a lot of guys at first. I made some really good friends there and stay connected. [Alum] Paul J is now their live-in manager!! http://www.bodhicasa.com/
After nine months I moved to Advanced House sober living in Venice. I have been here about six months and really enjoy it. The manager is an interesting guy with a long history of recovery and service. He and a business partner live in the back house and provide as much or as little supervision and direction as necessary. At the least there is daily check-in and testing. The house is clean, newly built- very nice. We are 5 blocks from the beach, 2 blocks from Whole Foods, and 2 blocks from the Venice Recovery Center. There are currently 4 guys here and room for 3 more. They are a newer sober living and just wanted to make sure we are on your radar. http://www.advancedhousesoberliving.com/.
I want you to know Chris is doing so well. Since his stay with you he has totally changed his life around.
He is drug free, even stopped smoking and with all your good examples of diet, yoga etc. And AA. He know has the tools to stay sober and off drugs.
I am sitting at my desk having gotten back to work and thought about how much things have changed for my family since Jenn's time at Malibu Beach Recovery Center.
Jenn is doing well, staying in California, approaching seven months of clean and sober living and working on her 4th step. She is making good decisions in her life and moving steadily into her new way of living. You may know all this but I wanted to say thanks to you and everyone at MBRC.
Having been in recovery for a good many years I am aware of the challenges that rise up from time to time and I know that my condition is subject to my commitment to living this program. I also know this to be true for my daughter but she now has the tools to live a spiritual, beautiful and productive life.
Both Jenn and I have already worked at helping others find their way to Malibu Beach Recovery Center knowing that they will get the help they need inside those doors. We will continue to do so. Miracles happen when people really care.
I am forever grateful.
B. K., Wyoming
It is getting close to a year since I was fortunate enough to be admitted to your recovery center and I thought I would let you know what has transpired in my life since I left.
When I got home it didn’t take long to get back into the swing of work and I found that I really enjoyed the local AA meeting. It was difficult to attend because the meeting was not until 7:30 and I got off at 5:00 but since I lived out of town that meant that I had to kill a couple of hours but I managed to hit about two to three meeting a week. Things went pretty good for about four and a half months and I was feeling really good. Since I had not experienced sobriety since I was sixteen this feeling of peace was a new experience. Then in March I had to go to court, remember I am the idiot that rolled his car on the way to rehab. Well that was the beginning of my hell on earth. The courts had originally charged me with a DUI but after a month they finally sent my blood work to the lab and when they got the results they changed the charge to driving with a blood alcohol above .08 then five days before trial they re-added the DUI charge and charged me with two charges for the same offence. If I had realized this before the trial started I would never have gone to trial. Well the jury found me not guilty of driving over the legal limit of .08 but they did find my guilty of a DUI (don’t ever get in trouble in carbon county Wyoming). This was not my first offence in my lifetime but it had been so long since my last one that it was legally a first offence. The judge threw the proverbial book at me. She gave me six months in jail and a years’ supervised probation with two thousand dollars in fines. She suspended four months which left me with 60 days that she started immediately. They took me directly to jail do not pass go. After twenty-two days a lawyer friend of mine (not the one that represented me) got them to allow me to use the time that I had spent with you towards my sentence and got me out. Since I had used most of my vacation for rehab I needed nine days leave without pay at work. After eighteen years of service to the university of Wyoming they would not grant me the leave. After two weeks of waiting to see what their decision would be about my job (keep in mind that I quite school at age sixteen and set my sites on this particular job) they threw me a bone and decided to demote me and cut my wages by twenty thousand a year. As a result of the wage loss I had no choice but to declare bankruptcy and lose everything I own including the house that I built with my own two hands.
I am not telling you this to whine but to let you know what I have been through in the last ten months so you and your staff will understand when I say. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I owe all of you more than words can express. I have been sober for almost eleven month and there is no way that I could have gone through all of this if it were not for all of you. I think of my time at MBRC often and wish that I could come visit you all for my first birthday but that is not in the cards right now but some day I do hope to come visit and say thanks in person. Please share this with anyone who might remember me and let them know that on August 12th I regained custody of my youngest daughter.
Garth G. , Wyoming
Elizabeth’s Story Note: Both the father and husband of actress EM, an alcoholic, tried unsuccessfully for years to get her to go to treatment. Then her talent agent fired her. EM hit the proverbial bottom and checked into MBRC. One month later she graduated and wrote the agent thanking him for giving her the motivation to become clean and sober. He refused to take her back. She found another talent agent and began to work. Six months after completing treatment she returned to the Center to participate in an alumni panel and then sent the following email: “I really enjoyed coming back to the Center a few weeks ago to speak on a panel - it brought back some great memories (I LOVED REHAB AT YOUR PLACE!). My agent took me back! He emailed me last week - I went in for a meeting Monday and my first day back was today. They said their main concern was for me to get better and were genuinely happy to welcome me with open arms - I felt like the Prodigal Son - it is all so good. Now my recovery is complete - I have my sobriety, my health, my family, my friends, and now my career - Thank You Joan and everyone at MBRC - I love you all!” EM, Los Angeles, Member Screen Actors Guild
In the fall of 2008, Keri’s mom was desperate for help. Her daughter had been in and out of mental hospitals for more than a year. Mom contacted a famous clairvoyant who told her about a house on a hill either in California or Colorado. The clairvoyant then contacted the Oprah Winfrey Show, who directed her to Brad Lamm, who brought her to Malibu Beach Recovery Center. She stayed with us for 90 days and then moved to Oceanside Transitional Living. Here’s an excerpt from Mom’s latest email: “No doubt you've heard about Keri's progress. Wonderful, and I told Dr. Miriam without MBRC and Dr. Miriam's dedication and skill, there is no telling what would have happened. And let's add LOVE. Keri was loved and her soul was "called back" to her in a place that she could hang on to it and nurture the reconnection to her true Self. We are grateful beyond words, but I will find the words someday to express this experience more fully.” Love, C., Michigan
My name is Gennady. My sobriety date is Aug. 8 2008. I am 24 years old and I am a heroin addict. I used to smoke almost an eight ball of heroin every single day. I couldn’t stop. I lost the trust of my family members and nearly killed my parents from the constant stress I put them under. I got arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance in July. After the arrest my using completly went out of control. I didnt need anyone or anything. As long as I had heroin life was perfect. I nearly died in my sleep many times from a low heart rate due to my heavy use. That all changed when a sweet, loving, and kind-hearted women by the name of Joan Borsten entered my life. Joan and the rest of the team at the Malibu Beach Recovery Center brought me in and detoxed me. After a painful and uncomfortable detox I began a rigorous 12 step and psyco-therapy program, which included yoga 3 times a day, groups in between and 1 hour of therapy everyday. When I started yoga I hated it, I wasnt flexible and didn’t have patience. Towards the end of my stay I began to teach it and found it to be a deeply calming and relaxing experience. My therapist taught me how my using and dirty lifestyle of drug dealing and living a double life had taken a toll on my family and especially on my thinking. Through Malibu Beach Recovery Center I was introduced to AA (alcoholics anonymous) and I built a solid foundation of meetings and now surround myself with people that want to stay sober. Also I have completely changed the way I eat thanks to the low-glycemic diet that they provide (let me just say that the food is AMAZING!!!!!).
I'm filled with gratitude today because not only did this place save my life but it saved my fathers life as well. He became over ridden with stress due to my using he checked himself in. I can’t thank Joan and the staff enough for the constant love, advice, and support. I have found myself through this program and would recommend it to anyone. If I can have over 9 months of continuous sobriety and remove myself from all the wrong doings of my past, then this is the place to be. I love my life today and I owe it all to my family and my new family at Malibu Beach Recovery.
Thank You for my Life
Being asked to write a testimonial for my time at The Marshak Clinic (now Malibu Beach Recovery Center) is an easy task. If you need, and are willing to make changes in your life, for the better, there is no better place to do so than The Marshak Clinic. From top to bottom the staff there is incredible. From the gardeners, to the chefs, to the counselors to the therapists, and especially to the C.E.O. and Dr. Marshak himself, you will not find a better suited group of people. The attention given, and their willingness to listen at all times of the day and night, made treatment a truly remarkable experience. It is heart warming to know that there are actually people that are that willing, to help others with their addictions in the world today. The fact that six clients is the capacity, allows the incredible staff to do there job that much better.
I played professional baseball for five years prior to coming into the clinic. I was very successful and my potential was almost unmatched to others I had played with. Drinking and drugs became a priority, and very quickly my dream started slipping away. I first failed a drug test but was not released because I had promised to stop. Two days after that promise, I got my second of three DUI's. That was it. Got fired. I mention this, because coming from an athletic background, where exercise and nutrition played a significant role in my life, The Marshak Clinic provided both areas, and then some. Yoga was never in my life, but it is a great workout, and gave me much needed improvement in my breathing and flexibility. The quality level of the instructors there are second to none. Between the meditation, the techniques in breathing and getting a full amount of oxygen to my brain, and gaining flexibility, I highly recommend the yoga program. The diet and food is equally amazing. I have never in my life eating better food than i did during my 28 days there. It was hard leaving knowing I was leaving the chefs. The low glycemic diet is not only extremely heathy, but also very, very, very edible. I thought I was in decent health prior to coming into treatment, but was shocked on how good my heath was on my way out.
If you are looking for help, and are willing to make some sacrifices in your life, I would not recommend any other place. The Marshak Clinic is not only beautifully located, amazingly staffed with a five star cuisine, it is also life changing.
R.C., Los Angeles, CA
I came to the Marshak Clinic (now Malibu Beach Recovery Center) near the end of a three year relapse. Although I hadn’t had a drink in almost ten years, I was badly addicted to prescription pain medication. When I got to the clinic, I was up to 50 pills a day and mixing vicodin, with percocet, oxycontin, soma and valium. Pretty much the same stuff that killed the actor Heath Ledger only a few weeks before I checked in. I was certain I was headed in the same direction this time.
One of the first surprises I got was how easily they detoxed me off these drugs. I had been through a prior experience in rehab a number of years before this and the detox was a nightmare. In fact, I had quit opiates in just about every way imaginable several times including cold turkey so I was prepared to be sick during my first 10 days there. It didn’t happen. I think it went easier for two reasons. One was the willingness I had this time around and the other was Dr. Marshak’s approach. Nothing about their process is aggressive or difficult. They started me on meds that weaned me off the painkillers but at the same time they also got me on a program of nutrition and supplements that was all but non-existent in my life at that point. I also couldn’t help but notice a spiritual aspect in their approach to treatment that I had neither experienced or heard of in a treatment center before. I mean let’s face it, you’re spending a month in an amazing house in Malibu with a dedicated staff of councilors, yoga instructors, incredible therapists, beautiful women and a team of chefs that should be starring in their own TV series on the Food Network. Not exactly hard time you’re doing at the Marshak clinic. Not for me anyway. I was ready to get myself clean and sober. And if anyone is coming through the doors here with that kind of willingness, then they’ll be in a great position to take advantage of some of the best treatment for addiction available anywhere in the country.
Oh yeah, and there’s a few other surprises you’ll walk away with as well. For instance, I’m in my late forties. Up ‘till now, I couldn’t make a bowl of oatmeal let alone an entire meal for myself. While I was there, I took full advantage of their weekend cooking classes. I could not believe that this was made available to all the clients. So I not only learned to cook, I also learned to shop for the kind of food that might keep me walking around on the planet a little longer than had I been left to my own best judgment prior to coming here.
Their approach is so completely well rounded, I felt that when I left, I not only accumulated 30 days of really strong sobriety but that I had been taught some life skills that would enable me to start living cleaner in many other ways. It’s been almost 12 months now and not only have I abstained from all forms of the drugs I was addicted to but I have not touched coffee or sugar either. Both of which had been a huge part of my diet before. I’ve also, for the most part, stayed away from all the foods I learned were unhealthy while I was there.
I cannot tell you how much knowledge, discipline and motivation I was given in that short time. I mean this sincerely. And it is given in the most painless and comfortable way you can imagine. The program they’ve designed has only one prerequisite. Okay, maybe two. Willingness and an open mind. For me it was easy. I was so completely run down and ashamed of where my choices had taken me by the time I came to Marshak. I had also been through multiple surgeries during the past two years but was not recovering properly because all of my physical and mental discipline had succumbed to an addiction that was so out of control by then, that I would have been dead or in jail had I kept going.
Since my stay there, I have immersed myself completely in Alcoholics Anonymous, just as I was encouraged to do by the people at the clinic. I have a sponsor who has over 25 years of sobriety and I have worked all the 12 steps. For me there was no time to waste, not while I was there and not while I’m out here. To anyone who can relate to this feeling and is ready to deal with their addiction, I cannot recommend these people highly enough.
S.I., Los Angeles, CA
I first went to the Marshak Clinic (now Malibu Beach Recovery Center) in December of 2007 and since then my life has changed completely. That is not to say that I haven't found sobriety difficult and challenging at times, but my sense of hope has never been as strong. I literally feel as if a dark, dense fog has been lifted from my mind and all my past feelings of ambition and self worth have returned, strong and clear again.
I have been to five other treatment centers earlier in my life and none of them had the same sense of structure and discipline mixed with genuine kindness and camaraderie. The Marshak Clinic welcomes you in as part of their Family and truly cares for your well being long after your initial treatment has finished.
After completing the course of treatment at the Clinic I moved into their Transitional Living facilities and I cannot stress enough the benefits that has given me. It has enabled me to return to my work with all it's difficulties and temptations whilst still living in a secure and structured environment.
As an Actor I have found that the Clinic is incredibly accommodating to the vicarious lifestyle. They understand the complex lack of discipline of the film industry. Since I have been staying at the Transitional Living I have worked on three projects. On each occasion the Clinic has offered me strength and guidance. I now leave for Europe to work again. To any Artist that might read this and want help, let me say there is no feeling as powerful and as adventurous as sobriety; the chance to perform without the constraints and paranoia of a cocaine/alcohol induced hangover.
Jamie H., Los Angeles, CA
On December 2nd of 2007, I walked through the doors of the Marshak Clinic (now known as the Malibu Beach Recovery Center). – please add these words.
Right off the bat I was pleased with how things were run, very professional. I had only seen rehabs in movies and on TV shows. I didn’t know what to expect. The doctor sat me down and asked the usual “are you an alcoholic” questions. To my surprise, I was more than qualified to be a client. Unlike many of today’s rehabilitation centers, the Marshak Clinic didn’t load me up on a handful of prescription drugs. They simply use a holistic approach of diet, food supplements, yoga and therapy based around the twelve step program. I had heard horror stories of people going to rehab and leaving with a shopping bag full of drugs to live their life. Fortunately that was not my story coming out of the Marshak Clinic.
As the days went on I became more comfortable in my own skin and in my new surroundings. It had been so long since I had slept without drugs or alcohol that it took a little getting used to. One of the things I liked most, that I wouldn’t have told you at the time is that there is a very busy schedule in treatment. It allowed me not to think about my problems until I was in therapy. This was the time in my life when I was introduced to yoga. I never thought I would be practicing yoga, but to my surprise I loved the mental and physical benefits and still am involved with it today. I regularly attend yoga classes and never would have found this great form of exercise and meditation if not for the clinic.
This was also the first time in my life I had been introduced to a no sugar, low glycemic diet. In addition to having great nutritional value, the food tastes absolutely delicious. I believe the food helped me recover from the roller coaster I was living on in my head. The no sugar helped me not have serious mood swings and anxiety. The supplements given to me after my DNA analysis also helped balance my mind.
I am blessed to have been able to go to the Marshak Clinic. A good portion of my friends today are people I met through the treatment center one way or another. I stay in contact with Joan on a regular basis and am grateful to have someone like her, Dr. Marshak and the rest of the staff in my life. The people who work here care about the individual and it shows in their work. It is now January of 2009 and I have not had a drink or drug since entering the clinic. What was once a dream is now reality. Thank you to my dear friends at the Marshak Clinic.
Eamon O’Hara, Syracuse NY (now Malibu, CA)
The story of Eamon O’Hara was broadcast by ABC-TV (20/20) on March 29, 2008.
Click here to read about his journey to rehab.
Update: Eamon O’Hara
The story of Eamon O’Hara’s intervention by actor Daniel Baldwin, his 30 days at Malibu Beach Recovery Center (then Marshak Clinic), and his transition to a sober life at Soba Malibu was first broadcast by ABC-TV (20/20) on March 29, 2008. Thanks to ABC producer Eric Strauss for a great job. Here is an email just received from Eamon’s mom (and by the way, Eamon recently got married – congratulations Eamon and Jen!).
Subject: 3 yrs ago today
That day is a day that we will never forget. We are so very grateful to you for guiding Eamon and really taking an interest in his well being. I am forever grateful. God Bless You and your family. with love and blessings!
My name is Dr. C and today I am a very grateful recovering alcoholic. To say that I was hopeless would have been an understatement. Years of drinking left me a slave to alcohol. Trying to stop was difficult but, trying to stay sober seemed impossible. I was tormented with the question of why. I checked into the Marshak Clinic (now the Malibu Beach Recovery Center) as a last resort to stay sober. This turned out to be a life-saving decision. The program attacked every aspect of recovery. I learned of the physiological makeup of addicts and alcoholics and how to treat it with supplements. We practiced yoga and ate healthy low glycemic meals. We attended one-on-one and group counseling. The clinics’ focus on AA and 12 step recovery has been a tool that I have utilized to this day. I am currently in the Clinic’s Transitional Living home. Here I am able to work, attend meetings and continue life as a productive recovering alcoholic. The love and support from the staff and alumni has given me 10 months of sobriety and a feeling of happiness I never new existed.
Dr. C., Los Angeles, CA
When I first started at the Marshak Clinic (now Malibu Beach Recovery Center) , my life had "hit bottom". I was in dire straits; my personal relationships, my career, my health and my self esteem were in ruins. I received a tremendous amount of support while in the clinic and was able to leave with a new perspective on life, a new road and a new journey.
However, I wasn't alone. The spirit of Marshak was with me. With the undying support of my Marshak Method aftercare coach, weekly meetings back at the clinic, and continued psychological support, I was able to slowly regain confidence in myself and maintain a healthy sobriety regimen.
Having an aftercare program is analogous to having a safety net in this uncertain world of sobriety. The odds are certainly stacked against those in early recovery. My Marshak method coach acted as a temporary sponsor, and friend to confide in. Most importantly, he helped me to grapple with many of the demons that had haunted me throughout the time that I was using. He assisted me in cleaning up my financial and legal issues, enrolling in the doctor’s diversion program to safe my medical license, and was instrumental in helping me form more meaningful bonds between myself and my family.
I have seen first-hand the carnage and destruction that a life of addiction leaves. More saddening is those addicts and alcoholics who enroll in an inpatient treatment program, initiate sobriety, and then go on to relapse because they did not invest in a meaningful aftercare program. Participating in the aftercare program was an essential step that I took to help ensure my sobriety.
K.C., Los Angeles, CA
My first attempt at getting sober occurred over a year ago. As with most drug treatment centers, the one I chose to enter focused almost entirely on the program of A.A. Although effective to a degree, there were many aspects of my recovery that weren’t met by this approach. I found myself experiencing intense irritability and depressive symptoms during my stay, the likes of which I had never felt before. The only remedy offered for my overall decreasing mood was psychotropic drugs, which I opted not to take for fear of dependency.
After drinking at the airport on my way home from this recovery center I quickly fell into my old patterns, unable to put more than ten days of sobriety together at one time. A year later I hit a new bottom and began the quest for sobriety, but was skeptical of any program that only offered The Twelve Steps and potent drugs as their solution. I knew I need more. I wanted to heal myself naturally, without the aid of foreign substances.
Soon after my quest began, I found Dr. Marshak and was invited to attend his five day retreat program in Malibu. At the clinic I found a program that took a truly holistic approach to recovery. Dr. Marshak’s unique approach was extremely efficient and after the five days I was able to put together three weeks on my own, using the tools I had been given at the clinic. This was the longest period of sobriety I had experienced since my last day at rehab.
I soon decided to enter the 28-day program the Marshak Clinic offered and became their first U.S. patient. Through DNA testing, Dr. Marshak prescribed a natural cocktail of supplements which worked specifically with my body at the cellular level. Through regular yoga, oxygen therapy, a specialized nutrition program, The Twelve Steps, and group and individual therapy, I was able to excel in a short period of time. I am truly grateful that I chose this treatment program. Within several days I felt a drastic increase in my mood and an overall sense of well being. Dr. Marshak and his staff were exceptionally caring and empathetic during my stay, and aided me in achieving maximum results. I have experienced great serenity since working his program and have had no cravings of any kind. It is truly a miracle. I have been able to maintain sobriety and a level of happiness I never thought possible.
Alexandra D., Los Angeles
Thanks for introducing me to Kundalini yoga. It's become part of my daily life along with Hatha yoga and given me many new friends and hours of happiness.
Hope all is well at the clinic. Please say hi to [yoga teacher] Alexandra and others who might remember me. Your kindness was appreciated. Along with taking up yoga, I altered my diet towards whole grains, less meat, etc. and now am in the best shape I've been since my mid-20's. It all started with the staff up at the Clinic. I also go to meetings just about every day.
I bumped into A at the Santa Monica library during the Spring when I was there with my daughter. She was attending a lecture on Buddhism and doing great.
As for me, It's been 1 year and 4 days! Please give my regards to everyone. I'd like to visit some time just to say hello and thanks.
Hi Rizelle. Very good to hear back from you. I'm glad my message lifted your spirits. Life can be hard sometimes, believe me, I understand. You, [yoga teachers] Alexandra and Marie were angels in my time of need. I will always think of you fondly as the person who steered me towards yoga which has been a very positive addition to my life. So many things from my yoga practice have resonated with my recovery. I don't talk about it too much in A.A. meetings or anywhere else for fear of appearing like a flake, but I'm sure you can understand what I'm talking about. I'm certainly less afraid to try new things. In Sept. I've registered for a two day teacher training student intensive Taoist Yoga workshop. My participation is a bit of a leap of faith!
In terms of my recovery, I also go to A.A. meeting every day so you can pass that on to the staff too! Part of my recovery has been a series of positive steps to move away from the isolated place I found myself in at age 46 and towards others, so I have my A.A. friends from 5 different meetings, my yoga friends, my coffee shop friends, parents of my daughter's friends, my old friends, work friends, etc... I've stopped saying "no" all the time when opportunities to be with others come my way... I continue to work to stop struggling against life so much and to get out of self will. Many good things have happened to me when I just get out of the way. It's uncanny, but one can attribute it to good things happening when one puts oneself in a good place, to God, to prayer and meditation, etc... Just look at what happened to me at the Marshak clinic, how many people in my situation have gotten a free opportunity like I did to get a push in the right direction at just the right time in my life. It was really a miraculous fork in the road for me, people went out of their way to help me and I'll never forget it...
Feel free to share my communications w/ [CEO] Joan.
Thanks again, and thanks for the kind words. It's a measure of the way my mind works sometimes that I wasn't sure you'd want to hear from me!
D., Los Angeles, CA
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