Contempt Prior to Investigation

The whole world is guilty of it, People have to get their own experience as painful as it can be.

Drug addicts especially though normal folks suffer from it to, from park avenue to park bench.

Kelly K

From city streets to satin sheets, perceptions change and even if someone would entertain another’s advice you can be certain they will find a way to throw their own little twist in to make it their own idea. Whether or not that is reality few people will ever know.

It is tricky business trying to save people from themselves. People have to get pretty creative and at our treatment centers we are mainly a facility that is for alcoholics and addicts that is run by alcoholics and addicts.

By working the 12 steps and learning to practice these principles in all our affairs (even at work) we become teachable.

Great Quote for Recovery

This quote I am about to share with you was geared to help addicts. If I were ever to become president of the United States. I would make it mandatory that every student that ever went to school would have to memorize this quote by William Temple.

For the trouble is that we are self-centered,

And no effort of the self can remove the self from

The center of its own endeavor.

– William Temple

We try and stay open-minded and teachable.

This whole life thing even for normal folks is very tricky business.

– Kelly K

Kelly K is an employee of Sober Living by the Sea and also operates

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Overcoming -What is so Overwhelming?

Realizing finally what the problem has been and accepting that there is a solution that involves a process that takes time. It has worked for millions of people that were just as overwhelmed and fearful as you.

Kelly K

Some of us will need work in some of these areas and some of us will need work in all these areas and maybe even just a few more:

  • Romance
  • Finance
  • Relationships
  • Physical Fitness
  • Work
  • School
  • Wardrobe
  • Body Image
  • 12 Step meeting etiquette
  • Language
  • Developing Routines
  • Social Anxiety
  • Transportation Problems
  • Court Issues
  • Sleep Patterns
  • Learning to Love Yourself

Drugs and Alcohol were our solution to “living problems.” Life seemed so overwhelming, once we accept our illness and start working on the living problems things will fall into place.

With the help and guidance of people who have recovered from almost identical circumstances, many of us are amazed before we are half way through!

If a person had to work on 10 areas on each topic there are 15 topics listed, then that is only 150 things to work on.

Taking life “one day at a time” and learning to work on just one issue at a time, people can  seriously change their lives around.

The problem is that “half measures avail us nothing. “Too often people underestimate the disease. The average stay with us is around 6-9 months. Often people will stay longer through different phases back into society.

We understand for a lot of people this can be a large investment even with insurance that is why we have structured our pricing to absorb the reality of the recovery process.

If drugs and alcohol were really the problem then detox would be all people need. Since 1986 we have been building community that is geared for realistic time frames for people to grow and recover.

– Kelly K.

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Overwhelmed More Than Anything

People in need of recovery are not bad people.

Chemically dependent individuals have been coming to Sober Living by the Sea for 25 years now. We understand completely that most all will be coming in with a certain amount of baggage and consequences.

That is what we are here for, to help people get their lives together.

We understand that once he or she crosses that line into addiction, almost immediately

Positive New Behaviors

their lives start becoming unmanageable.

Alcohol and drugs become the solution for millions because their problems build up and become overwhelming and without the support and direction to solve the problem areas in their lives, it becomes a vicious cycle of sprees that eventually ends in jails institutions and (sadly) death.

Untreated addiction takes time to treat. It takes time to sort through triggers and plan for alternative responses.

Anyone can relate to fear in one form or another and will agree that it is not fun. For those of us in recovery, this is amplified. Alcoholics and Addicts are riddled with fear.

It can be difficult adjusting socially to new situations and with the ever present financial woes of the struggling economy, many have turned to the bottle or pills. I promise you are not alone if you are experiencing this. If your significant other has left you, or legal consequences weigh heavy on your, a negative self image may also plague you.

We understand and you are not alone. Many of us working here at S.L.B.T.S are recovering ourselves and have sought the same solutions and paid similar consequences.

We have helped thousands through to years pull their lives together and build a solid foundation for a happy constructive life.

It is all up to the individual to surrender and ask for help, then we get started.

That is what we are here for. S.L.B.T.S.

– Kelly K.

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I Want To Live!

I want to live.

I often wonder what the original founders of Sober Living by the Sea were thinking when they started Sober Living by the Sea.

Kelly K

I can only guess,  but I have been working there since June 2004 and I believe now I know the answer.

Being in recovery myself and working in the field this long I understand that many people come into detox and primary programs really not knowing if they want to live or die (let alone get clean and sober). Many of the younger people come in and they know they want to live but not necessarily get clean and sober (and stay that way).

The original founders must have been thinking, “we will pick a location in Newport Beach,  and supply recovering people with food, beach cruisers, therapists, case managers, and doctors.  We will be the most gracious hosts we can be in a thriving 12 step community.We will make life simple and try and show them how great it can be to live life sober.”

If people came to this treatment center they could easily stay and make a  living in the area. Most importantly, we have made the lifestyle attractive enough to keep the wandering attention of the recovering individual  so that they will stay long enough to build a solid foundation(1 year for many). If they choose, they can go back home (or anywhere else in the world) and stay clean and sober.

People do not get addicted in one day or one month and they will not build a foundation for recovery in that time frame either. It takes time. Patience is a virtue that not to many addicts and alcoholics possess, so many will need to be enticed to get invested in the process.

By picking the perfect location and combining it with the latest cutting edge therapeutic processes, people are able to work or go to school go to meetings on the beach year round and develop a routine.

There is so much to be attracted to here. The ocean, the sunsets, LA , Hollywood, San Diego, the mountains, etc. Within a two mile radius you have from Pacific Coast Highway to the Wedge, you have Balboa Island, the Peninsula, Cannery Village, coffee shops, great resturants, exclusive shopping, hair and nails salons plenty of job opportunities.

In Orange county alone there are over 1500 12-step based recovery meetings weekly. There are frequent round ups, conventions, dances, cook outs, and some of the strongest sponsorship in the country.

Several programs around the country have built exclusive resort style treatment facilities. Though addicts and alcoholics, clients understand that this resort style living is temporary and will resemble their home life very little when they go home. Clients at Sober Living by the Sea can stay with us for 1 year for the same price as other treatment centers charge for 1 or 2 months and the entire treatment process happens in a realistic setting.

Sober Living by the Sea was started for 3 reasons,

1. to have people say “I want to live.” 

2. to have people say “I want to live happy.”

3. to have people say  “I know it is possible.”

They just did it.

– Kelly K

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Stuff my Drug Counselor Says

Stuff My Drug Counselor Says

(Journal entry, 3 February 2011)

Everywhere I go, somebody’s talking at me. My doctor’s talking, my friends are talking, my wife is talking, my kids are talking, my group is talking, and my drug counselor is talking more than anyone on the planet. Even my television is talking. Is all this endless  recovery-related talk the cure for my addiction? Instead of drinking and snorting, am I now addicted to talk therapy? I guess that reading is a silent form of talk, and my drug counselor says (and says, and says….) that I should read stuff about drug dependence and recovery. Seems that every type of chemical and behavioral addiction has an entire library of books that addicts are supposed to read and discuss with their DC (drug counselor), group, and family. Sometimes I’d like to have a little silence in my head. But when I said this to my DC, she said that I must be in denial and resistive to treatment. What, because I’m tired of all the talk? It’s not that I want to start using again; it’s just that instead of craving booze and dope, I’m craving peace and quiet. After all the talk of a 30-day inpatient rehab, now I go to aftercare group meetings every night after work. And when I get home, there’s my wife and kids asking about what I learned in group. My DC says I should share my recovery experiences with them not only after group, but also in our twice-weekly family therapy sessions. Let’s not forget this daily journal that my DC has me writing; I’m even talking to myself!

(Journal entry, 4 February 2011)

My DC says that I need to talk about why I used drugs and why I quit, but how am I supposed to think with all this jabbering going on? Whenever I’m kinda quiet and laid-back in group or family sessions, my DC says that I’m not cooperating in therapy. Can’t I just listen for a change, and then really think about what I’ve heard and how it applies to me? I’m not writing anymore tonight because I’m sick of myself. My DC says that not writing in my journal is a form of rebellion against sobriety. Whatever.

(Journal entry, 5 February 2011)

I went on the Internet and read a whole bunch of stuff about talk therapy and addiction recovery. I guess I was really looking for reasons why I should (or shouldn’t) keep on doing it. Here’s what the addiction experts say about talk therapy:

  • When we’re using, addicts talk all kinds of trash to themselves and others. These lies are what gives us “permission” to keep on using. If we listened to the truth and told the truth, we’d see that using is hurting us and those around us.
  • Talk therapy confronts an addict’s lies and misperceptions about using. Individual, family and group sessions help us talk through our thoughts and feelings; since we’re used to keeping this stuff inside ourselves, with talk therapy we can get them out and deal with them without using.
  • Nobody really understands addiction except other addicts. Talking with them keeps us honest. Honesty keeps us sober.
  • Reading recovery material and writing in our journals keep addicts learning and communicating – things we aren’t very good at when we’re using. The more we communicate, the less we think about using.

Believe me, I tried but I couldn’t find anything saying that talk therapy actually harmed addicts, but I found tons of information about how it helps us. I’ll talk to my DC about all this if I can get a word in edgewise.

(Journal entry, 6 February 2011)

My DC says that quiet and privacy are essential parts of addiction recovery. She gave me some material to read about daily meditation and how it can help me focus on living in the present moment, calming my mind, and becoming open to self-acceptance through sobriety. She said that whenever I need some time for quiet reflection by myself, I should say so. She said that saying nothing isn’t the same as hearing, thinking, or feeling nothing. Okay, maybe all the s**t my DC says is pretty cool after all!

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Canada’s Addiction Humor

With so many people injured and/or killed every year from alcohol and other drug-related causes, how can addiction be funny? What’s humorous about disease, addiction fueled domestic violence, homelessness, child abuse, crime, and the agonies of a slow, horrible death?

When you think about addiction in these terms, it’s neither glamorous nor humorous – no matter where it occurs and who suffers its devastation. Still, our neighbors in the Great White North have come up with some billboards and roadside signs that are just laugh-out-loud funny!

We Americans seem to be way too concerned with political correctness these days and except for daring comedians, writers, and talk-show hosts, we’re often very afraid of saying the “wrong thing.” Canadian advertisers have no such compunctions and, as a result, they’ve even tackled addiction-related issues! Hopefully addicts and addiction counselors understand that humor is a major part of healing from the scars of addictive behavior; being able to laugh at ourselves keeps us from being frightened, arrogant, and taking ourselves way too seriously even in the face of trauma.

Controversial Corona

Apparently Not a Photoshop rendering...

Somewhere on a lonely road in Canada is a Budweiser billboard that says, “Say no to drugs; you’ll have more time to drink beer.” Not to be out-laughed, Corona’s “Road Pack” sign has a picture of a beer holder that resembles a baby’s bottle, complete with spill-proof cap. It says, “Tired of spilling beer while you drive? Our extra-wide bottle fits in your cup holder!”

Everyone loves Las Vegas, right? Especially in Canada where the sign reads, “It’s only a gambling addiction problem if you’re losing.” How about this one: “If drinking and driving is illegal, why do bars have parking lots?” The St. Paul’s Brewery sign has a very buxom young lady holding two frothy mugs of beer. “Like her mugs?” says the sign. “Wait til you see her can!”

Yeah, yeah – drunk driving, sexual harassment and gambling addiction aren’t funny, they really aren’t. The message for addicts in these signs is that the world can be a cold, cruel place – especially if you’re miserably hooked on a substance or a destructive behavior. Nothin’ hilarious down that road. But try to lighten up sometimes! Living your life at the center of your own depressing melodrama is likely to be a factor in how you became addicted and why recovery is so difficult for you. It’s not just “He who laughs last, laughs best.” Rather, it’s “He who laughs, recovers best.”
Canada’s best is the billboard from the (fictional) American Medical Marijuana Association that show a really clueless guy saying, “Dude! Like, we totally forgot our own slogan!”

Funny.. I think this is real.

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What We Can Learn From Mel Gibson

(Note: The material contained in this article is based upon media reports, not from official spokespersons of Mr. Gibson)

Perhaps you remember him – the gorgeous young man who began his career in “Mad Max” and continued, in both his native U.S. and his adopted country, Australia, to gain an enormous public following with movies like “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome,” the “Lethal Weapon” movie series, the Oscar-winning “Braveheart,” and the controversial “Passion of the Christ.”

Mel Gibson, it seemed, could do no wrong with the movie-going public. Married for more than 30 years to wife Robyn, the father of eight children, and a strict Catholic, Mel appeared to have it all. And to give it all to his family, his God, his art, and his fans.

Then something happened. Mel was stopped in Hollywood for drunk driving. The arresting officer (a woman) cited him as spewing racist comments and he referred to her as “sugar tits.”

What? This wasn’t the Mel Gibson we all knew and admired. It was only in the aftermath of this incident that we, the public, learned the old lesson that in the entertainment business things are not always what they seem.

This lesson was once again hammered home recently when Mel’s girlfriend Oksana secretly taped phone conversations between them where he made many sexist and violent threats against her – the mother of his youngest child and the subject of their custody court battles. No further information is recounted in this article since it’s available non-stop on the Internet.

No, there is more that Mel Gibson can teach us than that which is contained in media tabloid material. For addicts in recovery, the following issues are the most relevant and educational in the story of “Mad Mel’s” downfall:

  • Mel began drinking at the age of 13. Raised as a strict, conformist Catholic by his father, Mel had difficulty fitting in with his new Australian peer group after the large Gibson family relocated. Drinking, to Mel, was an escape from teenage angst.
  • Mel continued to drink heavily through his Australian “Mad Max” days and his years in America with the enormously successful “Braveheart” and “Lethal Weapon” years. “The Passion of the Christ,” although controversial for its Jesus-was-killed-by-Jews message, is one of the highest grossing movies in history.
  • Mel had two very public breakdowns: the first occurred when he was arrested for DUI and made the now-famous anti-Semitic and sexist remarks, and the second with the release of his girlfriend’s racist, sexist and threatening tapes of phone conversations between them which Mel assumed were private. From this second self-destructive breakdown, it’s been said that Mel will never recover the fame and good will that he once enjoyed on a world-class basis.

God willing, none of us will ever have our worst moments made available for the world’s scrutiny and judgment. This is an arena exclusive to the famous – and the infamous. Still, Mel Gibson’s very public fall from grace can teach us two very important things about excessive alcohol abuse.

  • Disinhibition is what happens when alcohol and other drugs cloud our judgment, when we make physical and verbal fools of ourselves. Chances are good that Gibson did not rave about Jews’ control or Hollywood or refer to female law enforcement officers as “sugar tits” unless he was very inebriated. Normally, through our socialized inhibitions, we have the good sense and good manners not to speak like this in public. But good manners split the scene after about the third cocktail, after which we are prone to speak our drunken minds in very inappropriate situations.
  • Domestic violence most often occurs when the accused person is intoxicated by alcohol or other drugs. It’s kind of like disinhibition: normally, we don’t lash out physically at others because we either know that this is wrongful behavior, or we don’t want to go to jail. We may at times relish the thought of smacking our domestic partner or kids in the face when they’re being obnoxious, but we generally refrain from doing so.

To date, Mel Gibson has not acted out violently against Oksana, his infant daughter’s mother. No doubt we all hope these threats were merely those of an out of control drunk, but we cannot forget that most inmates who were convicted of domestic violence while intoxicated. Mel’s story may even seem like one of our own – where we made complete fools of ourselves but without cameras and reporters who invade our privacy. Let us, in recovery, not judge Mel Gibson; let us wish him well as he re-establishes sobriety and family happiness with the utmost in safety and security for all involved.

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