Able to Change Recovery is a CARF accredited substance abuse treatment facility located in Orange County, California. Founded by Saralyn Cohen in 1999, ATCR is the result of her efforts to expand her substance abuse and addiction treatment services to more successfully incorporate the whole family system.
The Lake Forest facility is one of the men’s residential treatment homes located in Saddleback Valley. With three separate men’s programs and one for women, ATCR provides clients with holistic, individualized, gender-specific care that incorporates evidence-based treatment and the 12 steps as well as dual diagnosis support.
Accommodations and Food
The Lake Forest home for men is a single-family house in a quiet residential neighborhood. Accommodating seven residents in three bedrooms, the house is situated in a small community just a 15 minute drive from the beach. House managers transport residents to the main facility to attend their daily scheduled sessions and activities. Grocery stores, shopping centers and recreational opportunities for nature lovers are all easily accessible.
Two bedrooms are double-occupancy with twin beds complete with pull-out drawers for personal storage. One room doubles as an office with a communal computer, high speed internet and desk space. The third bedroom has one twin bed and a set of bunk beds. All rooms have large closets and shared dressers. Two bathrooms are available, including a master en-suite bathroom with floor-to-ceiling tile, a walk-in shower and Jacuzzi bathtub. All linens and towels are provided for by the facility.
The living room has vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace, comfortable leather couches and flat screen cable TV. A selection of movies are available for residents to enjoy during their free time.
Adjacent to the living room is an open floor-plan fully-equipped kitchen with ample cabinets, granite counter-tops and modern appliances. Clients enjoy both casual and group meals sitting at the island breakfast bar and formal dining table. All residents are given a card with $100.00 credit each week to purchase their own groceries. Clients can prepare their own meals and enjoy snacks and coffee at their leisure.
The backyard space has a well-kept lawn, privacy fence and landscaped flower garden. A covered patio provides seating for socializing and dining al fresco with a BBQ grill available year-round.
Treatment and Staff
All potential residents begin with an assessment taken by the intake coordinator. Short- and long-term goals and an individualized treatment plan are developed with a counselor. Once admitted, all clients receive treatment at the main San Juan Capistrano facility.
ATCR treatment is a 90 day program with three phases. Created to provide essential support for individuals with co-occurring disorders and substance abuse issues, ATCR offers the Primary Treatment Phase, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) phase and the Intensive Treatment Program phase. Each phase has its own set of responsibilities, freedoms and therapeutic processes introduced at the appropriate time.
The Primary Treatment Phase is a 28-day program that consists of daily activities and rigorous recovery treatment. Four times per day, clients attend group therapy which focuses on relapse prevention and life skills as well as psychoeducation groups six days out of the week. All therapy is facilitated by CADCs or LPCs. Therapy techniques typically include CBT and DBT practices. Weekly individual therapy sessions serve to review treatment goals and discuss individual struggles. Clients participate in gender-specific groups and may also be included in anger management groups or special dual-diagnosis groups. First phase clients live at the residence for the entire phase and are in constant contact with a more experienced house member.
The IOP phase takes course upon completion of the first phase. Clients may stay in the house or they are permitted to move back home depending on their individual circumstances. IOP clients still attend 10 hours a week of therapeutic activities in addition to seeking employment or enrollment in school. Three evening groups per week are required in addition to daily attendance of 12-step meetings. Clients must seek sponsorship and begin to work the twelve steps during this phase. Clients are responsible for their own transportation to and from the facility.
The final phase, or the Intensive Treatment Program, activates a client’s exit strategy plan and their goals for staying sober. Clients are welcome to remain living at the Lake Forest house but are encouraged to move back home once they feel comfortable. Final phase clients must attend the Alumni group on Wednesday evenings and continue their participation in a 12-step program. Clients work closely with their counselors to ensure an effective exit strategy is in place for a seamless discharge. Relapse prevention strategies are emphasized during this time. After completion, alumni are welcome to join the Alumni club and still attend groups on Wednesday evenings to contribute their experience and support and receive guidance.
Residents are transported daily to an off-site gym facility with membership included in their enrollment fees. Clients also benefit from weekly Tai Chi and Yoga instruction on the main facility campus. Exercise is viewed as an important aspect of healing the mind and body from active addiction.
A family program is facilitated every Friday evening to provide support for loved ones. This group has an educational format to help families understand the process of addiction, their roles and effective recovery. There is also a “Family Weekend” seminar for families to learn how to best support their loved one both during and after treatment.
Able to Change Recovery offers a unique approach to residential treatment with their three-phase program. Clients are engaged intensely for the initial 30 days and then gradually reintegrated into regular life including employment, school and social activities. All clients are active in 12-step programs and must work the steps with a sponsor throughout their treatment. A holistic approach to recovery which includes traditional and evidence-based therapy, exercise, yoga and Tai Chi make Lake Forest a structured and well-rounded environment for men to begin their recovery with an exit strategy for lasting sobriety.
Able to Change Recovery
31501 Rancho Viejo Rd #101
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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Photo courtesy of Able to Change