When one thinks of a luxury rehab experience, their mental picture is likely to resemble Milestones Ranch Malibu in some way. Located in the beautiful ocean side setting of Malibu, California, Milestones Ranch is a dual diagnosis recovery facility with a retreat atmosphere and methods designed to fit each individual. Amenities abound, and the program prides itself on offering comfort and prioritizing the clients’ preferences as they get sober.
Accommodations and Food
Milestones has room for six men and six women in separate but matching facilities on-site, the “brown house” for men and the “gray house” for women; both are expansive, two-story homes. Most rooms are shared with two twin beds each, and all come with a private bathroom attached. Still, residents do have the option of private rooms for an additional $4,000. The women’s house also has an extra common room where most group activities occur; while the vast majority of activities at Milestones are co-ed, there are occasional gender-specific classes.
Milestones employs two gourmet chefs who prepare three meals a day for clients. The residential facilities are also stocked with fresh fruits and other healthy snacks, and the chefs even prepare middle-afternoon dishes to nosh on in between therapy sessions.
Treatment and Staff
While the minimum stay at Milestones is 30 days, most residents stay an average of 45 to 60 days. Overall, Milestones does not adhere to one particular course of recovery. While 12-step meetings are offered, the facility does not stress them as much as other facilities. Clients participate in primary process groups, CBT and stress reduction classes each night. There’s also community meetings each week, experiential and spirituality therapy, psychodrama and art therapy as well.
A key detail of the Milestones difference begins with its detox procedure. While it does not offer a medical detox on-site, it does coordinate with local hospitals to set one up for residents. This has been a deliberate choice made by the Milestones team, believing that including detox in primary care impedes recovery since clients spend their early days of recovery still dealing with the discomfort of detox. Milestones insists on making sure residents are already comfortable when they start treatment, to enjoy the full possibilities of their experience.
As is to be expected from a Malibu rehab, Milestones’ staff is top of the line and immense, with 45 total members. That number is more impressive considering only 12 total clients at a time, which all but assures personal attention. Its MD is Dr. James Golden, who was the Medical Director of Inpatient Medical Services at the Betty Ford Center for six years. It also has an on staff psychiatrist, a network of therapists, clinicians, resident advisors and a variety of specialty instructors from yogis to personal trainers.
Milestones prides itself on keeping an open atmosphere to recovery. Therapy will often occur off-site, to take advantage of Malibu’s natural beauty. As a result, residents can sometimes enjoy sessions on one of Malibu’s paddle boats or during a beach walk—and of course, yoga, meditation and other holistic treatments can only benefit from a beach setting. As it is a luxury facility, Milestone’s list of recreational activities is extensive. Besides yoga and a meeting with a personal trainer once a week, residents also have access to a fully-equipped gym every day. There are frequent hiking excursions in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains, and of course there’s always the beach. There are activities further off-site as well, including trips to local museums, movies, concerts and even go-kart races for the adventurous. Sometimes clients will unwind after an off-site meeting on Wednesdays or Saturdays at a nearby coffee house as well
The facility also offers a comprehensive aftercare program, including relapse prevention education, consistent follow-ups with team members, weekly alumni support meetings and Internet-based communications. Clients also have the option to transition to other tracts or levels of care such as day treatment, Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP), sober living and individual and family therapy.
An added bonus at Milestones is its Ropes Challenge Course, which offers residents the opportunity to experience emotional breakthroughs in a physical setting. Through activities like the balance beam (in which partners climb a 25-foot pole to walk a beam before meeting in the center and dismounting together), clients get to do trust exercises and exceed their personal limitations in a healthy, controlled setting.
From the lush surroundings, the variety of activities, the freedom and the meals, Milestones fits most every estimation of a luxury rehab experience. With a staff of 45 for just 12 at a time, it’s hard to imagine that residents won’t be able to take at least some control of their recovery.
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