Cliffside Alum: Brandon’s Story

I must preface that the reasoning I entered into Cliffside was [due to] a “nudge from the judge” but it was very apparent to me and everyone else around me that I needed dire help. I spent 90 days at Cliffside Malibu in total: the first 30 days were at CM2 house and the remaining 60 days were at Horizon Hills (both with gorgeous views).

A Warm Cliffside Greeting

Upon my arrival, I was greeted by a very nice tech named Brian (he helped me transfer my luggage from my truck into the car and transported me to CM2). It was there that I began my detox. I’ll never forget the beautiful sunset view of the ocean that day. The medical team and Dr. Stanley took amazing and thorough care of me with the proper medications and saw that I was checked on very frequently by the technicians and nurses (big shout out to: Stephanie, Stevie Ray, Shelby, Martin, Brian, Cicely, Jonathan, Tyler, Pat, Pierre, Emily, Andy, Raj, Cam and Manny). I was tremendously malnourished coming in and was brought back to good health by the amazing chef’s nutritionally balanced meals, as well as the nurse staff that checked regularly on my vitals, medications and emotional well-being (thank you to Chelsea, Haley and all the nurses).

Cliffside’s Schedule, Topics & Counselors

The carefully designed daily schedule consisted of four groups (two in the morning and two in the afternoon) with your housemates and certified counselors where topics such as: relapse prevention, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, anger management and more. The counselors running the groups listened to our suggestions if we needed help/advice in any area specifically. They truly care about your recovery and pour their hearts into what they do (A big thank you to all the counselors/therapists: Julie, Tanya, John, Danny, Ellie, Roxan, Jill, Martin, Randy and Terry). 

Many of the techs and counselors had years of recovery under their belts and I loved having conversations with them to learn how to better deal with my addiction. I was assigned a therapist (Christi, who I became very fond of) who I had the pleasure of seeing three times a week.  She will always hold a special place in my heart. I had three case managers, Hector, Danny and Joey, while at my different houses. They were a saving grace to me as they dealt with insurance issues, court letters and aftercare. They worked as my connection to the “outside world” and I was even able to make arrangements to get my driver’s license renewed, as well as anything else that I needed.

One-to-One Care

A special thank you also goes to the head clinical director, Karen. If you had any issue with anything, she would personally come to your location and have a one-on-one discussion to resolve the issue and best meet your needs. She truly cares about the work that goes on at Cliffside. House meetings were conducted every Wednesdays where management would come and listen to our needs and make sure that everything in the house was working properly and that all our needs were being met.

Recovery Meetings & More

We were able to be transported to the gym nearby most days, so I was able to get back into a nice routine where I had not been doing any exercise for the three years prior. It was also a provided option to go to the beach at least three times a week. Cliffside also made AA, NA and Smart Recovery meetings available every day of the week. I attended at least four each week and this really had an impact on my recovery. It can be intimidating going to these meetings so the fact that you could begin going and get accustomed to the meetings while in treatment is a great resource. I still attend the weekly Cliffside alumni meeting (hosted by the amazing Kelley, one of the directors) where I hold a literature commitment. There are always great speakers at the alumni meeting and I enjoy going back to a place that started to really feel like home. We had the pleasure of getting sound baths and yoga once a week by the talented Alison and Brian.

Weekly massages were also something I looked forward to tremendously, given by the highly skilled Kelli and Alissa, respectively. I went to a church that I was introduced to, Vintage Church of Malibu, which I still attend weekly now that I am home and really enjoy going to.

Path to a Better Life

I’m sure that I missed someone who I would like to thank but the staff are all exceptional. I could go on and on about the positive impact that Cliffside Malibu had on me; it truly saved my life. I made some lifelong friendships while I was there that I will cherish forever. I give it five stars and highly recommend anyone battling this terrible disease of addiction. There is a way out.   

Thank you, Cliffside Malibu.

-Brandon R.

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