Anaheim Lighthouse

By The Fix staff 09/04/14

Anaheim Lighthouse is a drug and alcohol rehab with a more residential feel to it than many of its competitors. The suburban surroundings are replete with palm trees and green lawns, and the houses also have outdoor lounge areas with benches and small decorated fountains.

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Location : Anaheim, California
Phone : (844) 494-4939
Price : $16,500 a month
Overall :
Accommodations :
Treatment :
Food :
Insurance : Yes
Detox : Yes

California Drug Rehab Center Review

Anaheim Lighthouse is a Southern Californian drug and alcohol rehab with a more residential feel to it than many of its competitors. The center is composed of four fourplexes all right next to one another in an Anaheim suburb, and offers housing for both men and women. They are a mid-range rehab outfit at a low-end price and former residents say their offerings are a cut above what competing mid-range centers can provide.

Clients are drawn to Anaheim Lighthouse for a variety of reasons, only some of them voluntary—others are sent there as ordered by their psychologists, their jobs or as a result of family intervention. Addiction treatment programs run the gamut from helping those addicted to marijuana to heroin addicts, and generally residents stay between 28 and 35 days (the latter including a seven day, non-medical detox). While men and women are both treated at Anaheim, there are separate facilities for each gender. Residents report that those in treatment are from "all different backgrounds, states, ages, and colors [and] religious beliefs," though most clients are middle- to upper-middle class. Age ranges skew to the middle as well, with women generally between 25-50 and men mostly middle-aged.

The accommodations at Anaheim are simple but adequate, with average-sized bedrooms outfitted with two full beds, a dresser and minimal interior décor; residents mostly rate housing as above average for the price point. The suburban surroundings are replete with palm trees and green lawns, and the houses also have outdoor lounge areas with benches and small decorated fountains where residents can unwind with cigarettes, should they so desire. Though all residents can expect a roommate, many report that with such a competent staff, everyone gets along famously.

Daily life generally consists of a 7:30am wake-up, with time in the morning to get ready for the day and eat breakfast until 9:00am. Then it’s "groups and more groups," as one resident reports, and days are quite busy. There are also meetings with counselors and frequent guest speakers, with reflective homework assignments to complete based on process groups. Life at the Lighthouse also means daily chores for everyone, which includes doing the dishes and also a deep clean of the facility every Saturday.

Residents report a mostly laid-back environment, and that seems to also apply to people who broke the rules—one resident says that infractions "could have been handled better." While some report that the staff is "very patient and understanding with our [predicaments] and personal problems," others say they often "let people off the hook" by not enforcing rules when residents are late to meetings, or when they miss meetings completely. Another resident says that the "Frontline Support Staff seemed overwhelmed at times" by bad behavior, and that better boundaries should've been set up on intake.

Similar to the housing situation, food service is ample. "The meals were very good and the menu changes often," one grad says, adding that snacks and coffee are also readily available. Though everything is homemade and tends towards comfort, addicts excel at finding relatively obscure oversights to object to (“Healthy, Caucasian and Mexican style food, which is good but no Soul food?" gripes one grad). A commonly listed favorite is Taco Tuesday, as well as the BBQ chicken, though others complain that the baked chicken and pork aren’t as good (and "there was a lot of pork served for some reason," another resident complains).

Residents are overall more than satisfied with the amenities and activities Anaheim has to offer. Different therapy services include several weekly yoga sessions led by an instructor, massages and daily workouts at an onsite gym as well as offsite AA meetings. In terms of recreation, residents can partake in weekend outings that include trips to the movies, the beach, the bowling alley or even to church. Trying to take clients off the grid, Anaheim offers no Internet, and the use of electronics is quite regulated—calls are limited to once a week via landline, though TV watching is generally allowed during free time. Still, as one resident notes, restrictions "could be modified based on your program and treatment plan."

Though there aren't any doctors or certified nurses onsite during the day, there is a nurse on staff during daytime hours and Anaheim works offsite with addiction specialist Dr. Michael Bishara. The staff at Anaheim is composed of a number of capable counselors and therapists and residents report being happy with the availability of medical services.

Non-medical treatment based on group sessions and the 12-steps are Anaheim's calling card though, and residents remember the sessions fondly. "The interaction with the staff was inspiring and educational as they shared their personal stories and outcomes of their treatment," one resident reports. Another alum notes that "the fellowship of brothers I met" was the most memorable part of treatment, and almost all say that having so many group meetings was worth the time.

For the most part, Anaheim is able to strike a balance between tough discipline and permissive friendliness; "It isn't,” as one alum says, “a mental hospital." If there are any complaints, it’s that counselors could control the meetings better.

Another sticky issue for some residents is (they say) that religion is subtly (and not-so-subtly) pushed on them in meetings (though "not to the point of Bible thumping," as one resident put it). Every Sunday clients are taken to a non-denominational church and though some enjoy the connection to the local community, others are uncomfortable. "It [was] apparent to a Jew, myself, that the vast majority of staff are Christian/Born-Again," one resident reports. "Not imposed on me though [there were] a few unprofessional slips of the tongue with regards to Christianity."

Though most alumni polled are only recent graduates of Anaheim's program, nearly all report feeling confident in what they'd learned there to stay sober back in the real world. Overall, residents are quite pleased with what they signed up for. "It was a great experience overall and I've learned a lot, about myself, my addiction and how to cope with it,” one says. And the treatment at Anaheim is destined to get even better; as one alum put it, "[It's] evident that they are raising the quality of treatment."

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