Creating a Recovery Community

By The Fix staff 10/03/17

“My biggest challenge now is keeping up with momentum of the program and not getting complacent."

young adults sitting together with green backdrop
Phoenix Rising fosters a recovery community that promotes developing healthy new relationships.

On October 1, Audrey Beck celebrated one year of sobriety. It’s an amazing milestone for anyone in recovery, made even more meaningful by the fact that Beck, 31, had been addicted to meth and heroin for 13 years.

“I never thought that that was possible when I came to get sober,” she said. “I was just sick of life and defeated. It’s very surreal.”

The change happened when Beck came to Phoenix Rising, an intensive outpatient treatment center in Aliso Viejo, California. There Beck was able to do a Suboxone taper to control her chemical dependency while she went to groups and therapy to confront the underlying issues causing her addiction. While she was doing intensive outpatient she also went to a sober living house and found a community that made a huge difference in her life.

“That community probably helped me stay sober,” she said. “They got me to meetings. At first I hated it, then it was a welcome presence.”

Soon Beck was attending 13 meetings a week with her three housemates, all of whom were also in early recovery.

“I just followed them around because I was desperate at the time,” she said.

Building community bonds is an essential component of treatment at Phoenix Rising. The behavioral health center focuses on addiction through attachment theory. The idea, based on the work of Dr. Alia Kaneaiakala, is that by relearning and building healthy relationships, people are able to get fulfilling interactions from meaningful relationships rather than from drugs.

Beck says that she bonded not only with her housemates but with Dr. Kaneaiakala and her husband Ben Kaneaiakala, the CEO of Phoenix Rising. Together the community at Phoenix Rising supported Beck through IOP, sober living and eventually a transition back to work.

“They made me feel like I was part of society again,” she said. “I developed relationships with the outside world.”

When Beck first got a job, staff from Phoenix Rising drove her there each day. The support and accountability were instrumental in keeping her on track, she said.

“I’m my own worst enemy,” she said. “Doing the IOP with sober living is a good option because you have programming during the day, then free time to live your life or work a job, but you also have the safety and security of returning to the sober living house. There’s no risk of being on your own.”

Now, Beck works as a house manager for Well Spring Sober Living in Mission Veijo, a home that is associated with Phoenix Rising. She is also working to help Phoenix Rising develop an alumni program, which she believes will provide another level of support, especially as people who are newly sober transition back to the real world.

“We’re hoping to have once a month get together where we can share stories, go out to dinner, all check in with each other so we’re all still staying connected,” she said.

She also hopes that having an alumni network will help people stay motivated with their recovery.

“My biggest challenge now is keeping up with momentum of the program and not getting complacent,” she said. “When I don’t go to meetings I get grumpy and old habits, old thoughts creep in. I slack off in areas of life that I shouldn’t be. That’s when I know I need to go to a meeting, get serenity, and check myself.”

Having others to help do that will just make the Phoenix Rising community stronger, Beck said.

“I know that I’m always welcome back,” Beck said. “It will be really nice to start the alumni program and see some people I haven’t seen. We can continue on the Phoenix Rising legacy.”

Phoenix Rising provides behavior health care services in southern California. Find out more at and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

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