A Look Inside Summit’s Vista House

Summit Vista is the newer Summit House. In the latest episode of Sobering Up Summit Dr Kim Chronister shows off the house and talks a little about life at Summit. She explains the importance of exercise and various options that Summit offers, including yoga, boxing, swimming, and karate. She also stresses the positive influences that exercise and physical health have on mental health and well-being.


You can watch Dr Kim’s tour and talk here:

You can follow Summit Malibu on YouTube here.

Here are a few images from inside the Summit Vista House and the backyard.

As you can see, the standard of comfort that Summit has always held is visible in every aspect of the new house.

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Debunking Detox: What is happening and why

“Detox” is often tossed around, meaning everything from beauty-boosting juice cleanses to severing ties with poisonous friends. But in the realm of alcohol and drug treatment, detox is a term that holds tremendous significance: it’s the first fundamental step on the road towards recovery.

As common as the word might be, many people don’t know what, exactly, detox means—or how long it will last. And within that uncertainty, fear often breeds, preventing people from taking the necessary measures to reclaim their lives.

In the simplest terms, drug and alcohol detox is a period of time in which the consumption of substances is ceased and the body purges itself of toxins. But as simple as it might sound, it’s a complex process that varies widely from person to person.

One truth, however, remains universal: withdrawal symptoms create physical and psychological unease. As you go through withdrawal, which can last from forty-eight hours to two weeks, you may experience a host of uncomfortable, even painful—and sometimes perilous—symptoms. The extent and severity of these symptoms depends on the history of abuse, including the type of substance used, the length of addiction, and the presence of co-existing physical or mental illnesses.

Most addicts experience a common set of symptoms. As withdrawal occurs, the autonomic nervous system—a branch of the nervous system that facilitates the body’s reaction to stress—kicks into over-activity:

  • Physically, you may experience headaches, profuse sweating, chills, nausea, cramping, and tremors.
  • Mentally, you may have trouble concentrating, feel disoriented, and experience amplified sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Psychologically, you may feel agitated and irritable, have deep emotional lows, and have powerful, often overwhelming cravings.

Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the type of substance abused and the duration of the abuse, for instance:

  • Alcohol detox can include Delirium Tremens (DTs)—the gravest and most intensely-felt side effect of alcohol withdrawal. Characterized by confusion, acute agitation, auditory and visual hallucinations, and significant increases in heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure, DTs impact roughly 5% of people undergoing alcohol withdrawal and can, in extreme cases, lead to death.
  • Methamphetamine withdrawal is marked by paranoia, aggression, profound depression, and suicidal thoughts.
  • Opiate withdrawal involves much of the same, as well as severe joint and muscle pain.

Some may choose to quit drugs and/or alcohol on their own. While every step towards recovery is admirable, the safety and efficacy of a medically-supervised detox cannot be overstated. Because of the volatile nature of withdrawal symptoms—which can worsen rapidly and unexpectedly—it’s important for a patient to be closely monitored throughout the process.

Medical Detox

Medicine is frequently administered to diminish cravings and alleviate the aches, insomnia, and psychological distress that arise. Additionally, many inpatient detox programs include counseling, education, and emotional support—all of which are key to the arduous but beautiful journey that is recovery.

Whichever route you choose, know that the challenges detox presents are temporary. The benefits, however, are often permanent—leading to lasting, positive change.

The Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Addiction Treatment

You may be thinking about rehab treatment for yourself or a loved one. One of the first questions may be what is the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment? The following is a guide to the general differences between inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient or residential treatment is an intensive program for the treatment of drug or alcohol dependency. It requires the individual to live full-time at the treatment facility, typically for 30-90 days, but can be longer depending on the severity of the addiction or other underlying conditions. Residential treatment is a good choice for someone who has previously been unsuccessful in overcoming his or her addiction or has relapsed, or someone who is unable to stop using, because the physical and/or mental addiction is so strong.

Residential treatment is also a better option for those who require a medical detoxification due to the powerful physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with some addictions, requiring the oversight of medical professionals. If the patient has a co-occurring mental disorder, other addiction, or additional health issues, he or she is also likely best managed in an inpatient facility.

An inpatient facility provides a highly structured environment, which includes regular group meetings, counseling, therapy, mealtimes, and other activities. A patient will find substantial support by living in a therapeutic community with other residents facing the same struggles. Residential treatment provides a healthy environment, mostly free from outside distractions that otherwise could prevent the patient from focusing on his or her total well-being, including physical and spiritual health in addition to addiction recovery.

Inpatient programs tend to have a higher rate of success due to being isolated in a safe and secure environment away from temptations and triggers that led to addiction in the first place. In this way, the patient gets to practice sobriety and become accustomed to abstinence without the negative distracting influences that kept him or her in addiction before he or she goes back to the stressors of everyday life.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment is ideal for the individual who has obligations like work, school, or family that prevent him or her from taking  substantial time off and away from such responsibilities. Some people also prefer privacy and anonymity with regards to their addiction and do not wish to explain a prolonged absence to an employer or others.

An outpatient facility allows you to attend to your obligations while simultaneously focusing on treatment either during the day or in the evening. It provides individual and group counseling as well, often with a heavy emphasis on attendance in a 12-step program. Peer recovery and support is also a significant component due to the limited safeguards and the availability of some of the same triggers and temptations that may be available by remaining in the community.

Other benefits of outpatient treatment include the availability of supportive family and friends and the opportunity to immediately apply strategies for abstinence learned in rehab to one’s daily life. Outpatient treatment may also cost less due there being no expense required for room and board.

Special care must be taken with outpatient treatment to prevent relapse, however. If the patient is in an environment in which he or she is exposed to drugs or alcohol, the individual will be at a much higher risk of relapse.

Outpatient treatment is also often used as the step down from inpatient treatment. This allows for slow integration back into normal life, rather than just jumping in. It has been found that approaching treatment with a step down model tend to lead to greater success for long term recovery.

Which is best for you?

If you want to know more specifically what the differences are in programs at a particular facility, call to get more details. A qualified professional can arrange an assessment to determine the best course of treatment for you or your loved one.

It Takes a Village: Recovery in a Therapeutic Community

The proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” arose from the idea that children are more likely to become healthy, well-adjusted adults when they have the support of their whole community. We, as humans, thrive with connections to society.

How Does This Relate to Recovery?

Recovering addicts are more successful when they have support from a therapeutic community. The community can be comprised of treatment providers or other recovering addicts. This is one reason that 12-step fellowships are highly recommended, and why they continue to grow worldwide.

What Is a Therapeutic Community?

Therapeutic Communities used to refer to long-term residential treatment centers, in which clients lived together along with therapists and supportive staff. Today the term is used more loosely and can refer to rehabs, intensive outpatient programs, day programs, recovery houses and also 12-step fellowships.

The Benefits of Recovering in a Community

By definition, a therapeutic community should take a group-based approach; recovery is more successful when people work together to support one another.

In a residential setting, resources and assistance are available around the clock. Staff is present at all times to facilitate groups and make sure that the atmosphere is conducive to recovery. Inpatient settings also allow people to separate from the triggers in their natural environments.

Outpatient settings also provide support from trained staff, but this is limited to certain times of the day. Group and individual therapy sessions allow people in early recovery to learn coping skills and develop methods to stay clean in their environment.

12-step programs are comprised solely of recovering addicts, who share their experience and strength to help fellow addicts. The programs follow a structure and have a specific series of steps that empower addicts to help themselves.

How to Find the Support You Need

When you are new to recovery, it’s a good idea to observe what is going on around you. Look for people who are committed to their recovery. Find supportive people in the beginning and continue to develop those relationships as time goes on. Talking to others honestly about how you feel and asking for help when you need it are key parts of maintaining long-term recovery.

In treatment programs, utilize the staff’s knowledge and identify resources in your community. If you participate in a 12-step program, go to meetings regularly, find a sponsor and start working steps. Whatever the setting, a therapeutic community offers a recovering addict a natural support network. No one has to deal with life in isolation.

Is Residential Addiction Treatment Right for You?

There are many questions to ask before entering residential addiction treatment.

First and foremost, admitting there is a real problem with drugs or alcohol is vital to making the first step in recovery. In order to come to such a conclusion, there are several questions on the website of Alcoholics Anonymous that may help in discovering whether one feels they are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.

Some questions include:

  •  Have you ever tried to stop drinking and been unable to do so?
  •  Has your drinking caused trouble at home?
  •  Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks at a party because you do not get enough?

Once a self-diagnosis has been made, deciding whether or not residential treatment is right for you is a pivotal step. Removing oneself and relocating to a different environment can be incredibly helpful in arresting the addictive behavior and adjusting to abstaining from drugs and/or alcohol. Inpatient treatment facilities require those in recovery to live at the rehab center for the duration of the stay, attending meetings at the facility, group sessions and individual sessions, allowing for recovery to be the sole focus for that period of time.

Finding the proper treatment facility is an important step in the process toward long-term recovery. The success rate increases dramatically for those who stay in programs up to 30 days and beyond. The minimum recommended length of stay from most professionals is 30 days. During that length of time, a person is able to adjust to the physical stability of living without drugs and alcohol, while assimilating to the lifestyle changes inherent in joining the recovery community.

What Happens After Residential Addiction Treatment?

After residential treatment, aftercare, or outpatient treatment, is also available. This option will increase the likelihood of staying sober and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and attitude. There are many additional therapeutic options at residential facilities, which include individual therapy and group therapy, which can be continued after graduation from a residential treatment facility.

Safety, comfort, dedicated individual care, detox, and community are all critical elements in the recovery process. Each of these facets of recovery are offered at a residential treatment facility.

Discovering whether treatment is right for you may come down to several factors, which may include price, location, chosen profession, and family relations. Depending on the length of stay, each of these life areas may be amenable to the change required in an effort to achieve sobriety. Family members are often very supportive and many jobs often include an option, which supports recovery. Healthcare providers and insurance companies are also much more available to offering recovery options.

Ultimately, the decision is personal. Finding the right place that suits your needs and meets your sensibilities is a wonderful discovery on the road to recovery.

How Residential Addiction Treatment Works


Residential addiction treatment facilities are as varied as college campuses. Finding the right match is a detailed process, which involves research and discovery.

Getting There

Perhaps you’ve visited the residential treatment facility. Perhaps you’ve spoken to an addiction specialist over the phone. The first thing you have to do is arrive.

Private transportation can be provided, especially if the client is arriving from the airport; a car service can also be arranged, depending on the departure location and preference of the client. Other clients choose to have family members or loved ones take them to residential treatment for the first time.

First Days

Upon arrival, a team of well-trained, caring staff members will greet and assist the client with accommodations. Getting settled in is an important part of the arrival process. Feeling comfortable in new surroundings and getting to know fellow residents will assist in the transition, so you can feel at home. Daily meals are one of the specialties of some treatment facilities and many offer private chefs with specialized dining plans. The first evening can be a delicious discovery of the types of nutritional benefits of attending a residential treatment facility. Read about the Summit Difference Here


As the staff will kindly let you know, the daily regiment in treatment includes a routine, which offers comfort and stability, with room for variation. Depending on the special activities offered at the facility, daily schedules may vary. One day may include equine therapy, while another, a trip to the beach for an outdoor excursion. Most days will include the basic tenets of the recovery center’s mission and philosophy: individualized therapy, group therapy, 12-step meetings, exercise, and leisure activities as part of a daily regiment.


Each day or week may include additional therapy sessions to enhance the experience in treatment. For instance, family group therapy will support the experience, increasing the likelihood of long-term sobriety for the client, offering a greater chance for the family to recover, as well. At various points throughout the client’s stay, meetings with counselors and individual therapists will aid in the development process. Clients can assess their growth and discover new tools to use in their daily lives.

At a certain point in treatment, the client may discuss with a counselor possible plans for the future: living accommodations, family arrangements, professional questions, social adjustments, and potential aftercare. Clients may decide to stay at residential treatment for 30 days or six months, depending on the level of care necessary. In 12-step meetings, 30, 60, and 90 days are used as markers to denote different levels of growth in sobriety. At six months, a client may feel much stronger in their recovery and will have returned to a much more stable style of living and being.

The Future

Upon graduation of a residential treatment program, clients may keep in contact with the residential treatment facility, after they have left. Perhaps there are on-campus meetings to attend or a particular staff member to visit.

On a daily basis, residential treatment works to serve the greatest good of the client, meeting their needs and adjusting to their strengths and weaknesses. Just like going to school, the learning never ends. The journey of recovery begins in residential treatment, and will always hold a special place in the memory of the individual in recovery.

How Long do I Have to Stay in Residential Treatment?

For many addicts considering residential treatment, their first question is often, “How long will I have to stay?” The answer to that question is a simple and straightforward: For as long as it takes.

Different Strokes

Drug treatment program lengths do vary, not only for each individual, but for each treatment facility. While a certain length of stay may be appropriate for one person, it may not work for another. Residential treatment programs provide an intensive level of care and are ideal for people who have unsuccessfully attempted to overcome addiction on their own in outpatient programs or for people who want to get it right the first time.

Residential treatment typically offers a standard fare of a 28-30 day stay. The popular Sandra Bullock movie about addiction was appropriately entitled, “28 Days.” The general wisdom is that a 28-30 day stay gives people adequate time to overcome resistance to treatment, effectively detox from drugs and alcohol, yet still provides enough space for the addict to reflect on his or her past, present and future.

Beyond the Standard

However, these standard programs may not offer enough treatment for people who have more severe addictions, or who have relapsed. When considering treatment, duration depends on many factors. To truly determine the most appropriate program, an in-depth diagnostic assessment with a qualified professional is needed. Sixty-day programs typically include the same services as thirty-day programs. That includes intake, evaluation, detox and therapy. But they also offer more time in a sober environment, as do stays of a longer duration. Budget is another consideration when determining length of stay.

Family and Friends, Inside and Out

Many residential treatment centers encourage family participation, including family education and weekend programs. In addition to immediate family, patients benefit from having a therapeutic community in residential treatment programs — a community of patients who support one another through treatment by encouraging one another to stick with the program.

Keeping Your Options Open

Other factors to consider when choosing a treatment facility include whether extended stays are available to patients who might need additional treatment. An individual may enter treatment with the intention of only staying 30 days, but realize once they are there that more time will be beneficial. Having the option to stay is ideal if that individual realizes they need additional treatment to fully complete their recovery.

When asking the question, “How long does rehab take?” an addict should consider how long rehab will take based on their own personal situation and not how long it takes other people. Recovery is highly individualized and may take more time than originally intended. As a general rule, studies show that people who spend more time in treatment have better outcomes.