Capo By The Sea

By The Fix staff 08/01/14

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Location : San Juan Capistrano, CA
Phone : (888) 352-9389
Price : $24,500 (semi-private) $32,500 (private room), $42,500 (executive suite, all inpatient at Capo 30 days); Solutions between $15,500 - $22,500 (higher price for private). Detox between $9,500 - $18,500 (7-10 days, price depends on room), treatment + detox is $18,500
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Insurance : Yes
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Capo By The Sea can be found in the peaceful beach community of San Juan Capistrano, and offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option. Their primary treatment center is a small office suite just off of Ortega Highway and they have two houses in the area, both of which exude the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Clientele at Capo By The Sea are mostly white-collar, meaning lawyers and doctors (and even the occasional celebrity), with ages ranging from late 20s and early 30s to 50s at the outside while their other house, Solutions, caters to a more middle-class, younger set. Alumni from both report that demographics are diverse and welcoming: "There was always a mixed group,” says a grad. “People of all different ages, races and walks of life.”

Capo's main house is a co-ed cottage home tucked inside a small suburb with towering palm trees, just a mile or so inland from the beach. Still, don't let that give you the impression that there's anything snug about the living arrangements. The main area of the house is a spacious and sun-drenched living room with plush couches and a built-in fireplace (a flat screen is mounted above it, of course). The room flows into an equally impressive wood-paneled kitchen with wide granite countertops. The house has room for six residents across a total of five bedrooms (three upstairs and two down) but because the center is co-ed, staff members say that room juggling is sometimes necessary to avoid Jack-and-Jill living situations.

While most of Capo's bedrooms are private, there's a semi-private room and an executive suite available, the latter of which takes up half of the top floor and comes complete with a four-poster bed, walk-in closet and private bathroom. And while everything in the center has its charm, probably most charming of all are the friendly dogs likely to greet visitors (the center recently became pet-friendly). Solutions has a similarly spacious set-up, with a central kitchen sandwiched between a comfortable living room and dining room area. The decor at Solutions is scaled-down compared to Capo though the house itself is a bit bigger, with room for 18 at a time. Bedrooms there range from one to three beds in each, and the house also has a back patio with grills and a sizable backyard with plenty of garden beds.

Being so close to the ocean means that meals at Capo often feature a lot of seafood, and alumni report no complaints about Chef Rob's cooking (residents at Solutions are also able to take advantage of his culinary creations). While Chef Rob has ultimate control over what gets served, house menus are designed to fit the diets of residents (having Jewish or Muslim clientele means that everybody has to miss out on pork). Breakfast and dinner are served at the houses, while lunch is taken at the central treatment center. Breakfast usually consists of omelets or Chef Rob's take on Eggs Benedict, while dinners include seafood enchiladas, Spanish paella or chicken cacciatore. When possible, the house also has steak night once a week.

Daily life and treatment at Capo are fairly regimented, though clients are allowed more freedom than those staying at Solutions. Wake-up is generally at 6:30am, with the group heading to town shortly thereafter for a morning AA meeting in nearby Dana Point or Laguna Beach. After that is gym time from 8am onward (local membership is included) and then back to the house for breakfast at 9am. There's free time after that to let residents finish up homework and chores before getting shuttled to the clinic for treatment from 10:45-2:00pm, with lunch in the middle. 

Treatment at the clinic usually means DBT and group therapy with a mix of Capo, Solutions and outpatient clients. One-on-one sessions with therapists and counselors tend to be held at the houses, for the sake of the client's privacy. After treatment, it's back to the house at 2:30, where Capo residents are in for more flexible afternoons. They can choose between acupuncture and massage (included in the cost), tanning, shopping or beauty salon trips. There's also room for more gym time, AA meetings and homework before lights out around 11pm. Though Capo has flexible scheduling and is permissive with electronics (for their executives), alumni report that house rule violations were taken very seriously. As one simply put it, "When I got loaded in treatment, they kicked me out," though she was able to return later. Still, overall residents rate the balance of freedom and tough love highly.

As far as life outside of treatment is concerned, Capo is uniquely positioned (near Doheny State Beach and Salt Creek Beach) to supply a variety of recreation options for their residents. They have an agreement with a nearby country club for clients to shoot a few holes, and a bevy of beach-related activities—including fishing, whale watching and even trips to Catalina and Balboa Island. "Essentially anything we wanted was available to us if we asked," says one alum.

All in all, Capo offers relaxing, sun-soaked recovery for those who can afford it. The center may be somewhat heavier on recreation than treatment for the likes of some, but most everyone who’s been through the program sings its praises.

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