Your Family and Addiction: How To Get Treatment for Your Loved One

Family and Addiction: A Process

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, addiction is a family disease1. The link between dysfunction in the family and addiction is well-established. Addiction brings uncertainty and chaos, and it puts families under a great deal of stress as it becomes difficult to maintain normal household routines. The addicted person and other family members may bend or try to deny reality in an attempt to maintain order. Repairing damaged familial relationships and restoring order to the household typically depends on the addicted family member getting professional help for the addiction. But what if your addicted loved one doesn’t want help or doesn’t feel like they need it? What if they want help, but doesn’t know where to turn, or doesn’t have insurance, or can’t leave their job or the family to get treatment? In many cases, family takes the initiative to find help for the addicted family member. But navigating the world of addiction treatment isn’t easy, and finding an adequate, reputable treatment program can be difficult if you don’t live in a large city. If your loved one is willing and ready to get help, you’re halfway there. If not, getting treatment for your loved one may require an intervention. Either way, this step-by-step guide will help you help your loved one.

Step One: Understand Substance Abuse, Addiction and Dependence

The best thing you can do initially to help your loved one -and yourself- is to learn everything you can about substance abuse, addiction and dependence and the substance your family member is addicted to. If you don’t understand how addiction works, it will be difficult to talk to your loved one about the drug or alcohol problem and convince them to get help. Understanding substance use disorders will also help you help your loved one once they’re in recovery.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is the act of using drugs or alcohol in a way that causes problems in your life. These problems may be related to relationships, physical or mental health, finances or the law. They may stem from engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence. The most common form of substance abuse is binge drinking, which is drinking enough alcohol in the space of two hours to raise your blood alcohol level to .08 percent. For men, this is around five drinks. For women, it’s around four. Any use of an illegal drug is considered substance abuse, since using illegal drugs -including prescription drugs that belong to someone else- can lead to serious problems.


Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug or alcohol abuse despite the negative consequences it causes. People who are addicted may want to quit or try to stop, but they usually find that they can’t alone- at least, not long-term.

Brain Changes

Addiction is a disease of the brain, marked by changes in the brain’s physical structures and chemical functions. Heavy substance abuse leads the brain’s reward system to become re-wired in a way that causes the brain to equate liking using with wanting to use. Powerful cravings develop, driven by the same mechanisms that are designed to keep us eating or other actions to survive as a species. Compulsive drug-seeking behaviors develop, and the addiction typically alters thought patterns. This further perpetuates the addiction and can lead to denial or to minimizing the problems that are caused by the substance abuse.

A Progressive Disease

Addiction is progressive, which means that it will grow worse with time. It’s chronic, which means that it can’t be cured, although it can be sent into remission. And it’s relapsing, which means that using again after a period of abstinence can lead back to the addiction, once again characterized by compulsive use despite negative consequences.

When Use Leads to Addiction

Heavy substance abuse doesn’t always lead to addiction. Around 23 percent of people who try heroin, 15 percent of people who try alcohol and nine percent of people who try marijuana eventually become addicted. Whether someone develops an addiction depends on a number of factors, about half of which are genetic. Other factors include biological, environmental and cultural influences.

 Underlying Causes

The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that once an addiction develops, willpower and good intentions are not enough to end it2. Professional help is almost always needed. That’s because addiction almost always has underlying causes that lead to the heavy substance abuse in the first place and must be adequately addressed to end the addiction. The most common underlying causes are chronic stress, a history of trauma and co-occurring mental illnesses like anxiety or depression.


Dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms that set in when you stop using drugs or alcohol. Dependence, like addiction, is the result of changes in brain function due to heavy substance abuse.

Neurotransmitter Influence

Drugs and alcohol act on the brain’s chemical messengers, known as neurotransmitters. Different drugs affect different neurotransmitters, and different neurotransmitters produce different effects. Heavy drug or alcohol use causes the brain to change its chemical function in order to compensate for the effects of the substance. For example, alcohol increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is responsible for feelings of calm and wellbeing. It reduces the activity of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which produces feelings of excitability. With heavy alcohol use, the brain compensates by reducing the activity of GABA and increasing the activity of glutamate in an attempt to normalize brain function.


As a result, tolerance develops. Tolerance means that you need increasingly larger doses of drugs or alcohol to get the desired effects. As you increase the amount you use, the brain continues to change the way it functions. At some point, brain function may shift so that it now functions more comfortably when the substance is present. Then, when you stop using suddenly, normal brain function rebounds. The chemicals that were suppressed flood the brain, and those that were increased are now reduced. The result is physical withdrawal symptoms, which can be excruciating enough to send someone back to using to make the discomfort stop.

Diagnosing a Substance Use Disorder

The terms substance abuse, addiction and dependence are widely used, but these are officially diagnosed under the umbrella of “substance use disorder,” or SUD. An SUD is characterized as mild, moderate or severe, depending on how many of the eleven criteria apply. Meeting two or three of the criteria indicates a mild SUD. Meeting four or five denotes a moderate SUD, and meeting six or more indicates a severe SUD. The criteria cover past-year use and are as follows:

  1. Using for longer periods of time than intended or using more than intended
  2. Wanting to quit or cut down but finding you can’t
  3. Spending excessive amounts of time seeking, obtaining, using and recovering from using
  4. Experiencing intense cravings that make it difficult to think about anything else
  5. Continuing to use despite problems at work, school or home
  6. Continuing to use despite problems with relationships resulting from the substance use
  7. Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  8. Engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence, such as driving or walking alone in a dangerous area
  9. Continuing to use even though it’s causing physical or mental health problems or making existing problems worse
  10. Developing a tolerance so that you need more drugs or alcohol to get the same effects
  11. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using suddenly

Whether a substance use disorder is mild, moderate or severe, treatment can help end it for the long-haul.

Step Two: Understanding Treatment

Understanding how treatment works is vital for getting the kind of help needed. Treatment is about far more than simply quitting drugs or alcohol. Finding a program that offers comprehensive, holistic programming is essential for the best outcomes.

Medical Detox

Medical detox is a medically supervised detoxification process. During medical detox, medications are provided as needed to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and shorten the time it takes to detox. Medications also help prevent dangerous or fatal symptoms from occurring, which is possible during withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium. A number of assessments during medical detox help providers develop a comprehensive, individualized treatment program that begins once detox is complete. Detox only addresses physical dependence on drugs or alcohol and does very little to address addiction, which is far more complex.

Addiction Treatment

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that a holistic treatment program offers the best possible outcomes of treatment3. A holistic approach to treatment addresses issues of body, mind and spirit for whole-person healing. In order to successfully end an addiction, multiple needs must be met. This includes addressing:

  • Underlying causes of the addiction
  • Troublesome thought and behavior patterns that developed because of the addiction.
  • Problems the addiction caused, including relationship, health, legal and financial

Purpose of Therapy

The point of treatment is to bring people to a point where they no longer have a need or desire to return to using. In order to do this, a variety of traditional and complementary therapies are used. These therapies help individuals:

  • Identify and change self-destructive thought and behavior patterns
  • Evaluate attitudes and beliefs and change those that are outdated
  • Address underlying issues like stress or trauma
  • Identify inherent strengths and values and align behaviors with these
  • Develop coping skills for handling stress, cravings, negative emotions and other relapse triggers
  • Identify personal triggers and high-risk situations and develop a plan for dealing with these
  • Address co-occurring mental illnesses, including anxiety or depression
  • Repair damaged relationships
  • Restore function to the family system
  • Develop healthy communication, social and relationship skills
  • Set and maintain personal boundaries
  • Identify purpose and meaning in a life of sobriety
  • Learn to relax and have fun without drugs or alcohol

Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies are experiential, hands-on therapies that are shown through research to be effective for treating addiction when they’re used along with traditional therapies. Complementary therapies commonly used in treatment programs include:

  • Yoga, which reduces stress, increases self-awareness and promotes physical and mental strength, balance and flexibility.
  • Art or music therapy, which helps people express difficult emotions, improve self-awareness and ease feelings of guilt and shame.
  • Meditation to reduce stress and improve the way the brain and body respond to external events.
  • Horticultural therapy, which improves planning and decision-making skills, reduces negative emotions and increases self-confidence and self-awareness.
  • Biofeedback therapy, which helps individuals learn to control their body’s stress response to reduce stress and cravings and cope with negative feelings.
  • Acupuncture, which helps improve the function of the body’s systems and reduce physical and emotional pain.

Traditional Therapies

Traditional therapies are “talk” therapies that are shown through research to be effective for treating addiction. Traditional therapies used in high quality treatment programs include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps individuals examine and change dysfunctional patterns of thinking and behaving.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy to improve mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal skills.
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy, which increases psychological flexibility, emotional control and self-respect.
  • Motivational enhancement therapy to help people resolve any ambivalence they have toward recovery.
  • Family therapy, which helps families work through a variety of issues and improve their communication skills. The importance of family in the involvement of addiction recovery can’t be overstated.
  • Psychoeducational classes, which provide education on a wide range of topics related to addiction.
  • Pharmacotherapy, or the use of medications to help improve brain function, reduce cravings and treat medical or mental illnesses.

In addition to traditional and complementary therapies, a variety of other services and interventions may be used to help restore function to your loved one’s life. These may include educational, vocational, legal or housing assistance; medical or dental care; and psychiatric services.


Once the treatment program is complete, an individualized aftercare plan will be developed to help your loved one navigate the early weeks and months of sobriety. The aftercare plan will generally include ongoing therapy and participation in a support group. Other components will be added based on unique needs and issues. A case manager will oversee the aftercare plan and make amendments as needs change.

Step Three: Choose the Right Treatment Program

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a tool to help you find a quality treatment center4. This is a good place to start your search. Not all treatment programs are created equal, and in fact, many state governments are cracking down on rehab centers that are doing more harm than good. Choosing a reputable, high quality treatment program is essential for the best possible outcomes of treatment. Equally important is choosing the right setting and the appropriate type of program to address individual needs.

The Treatment Setting: Inpatient vs. Outpatient

Treatment programs take place through inpatient and outpatient programs. The evaluations conducted during medical detox or during the admissions process helps providers place individuals in the right setting.


Inpatient rehab involves living at a residential treatment center while undergoing treatment. The benefits of inpatient treatment include:

  • A high level of support, structure and supervision
  • The opportunity to focus solely on recovery
  • Intensive therapies to help precipitate change more quickly
  • The opportunity to develop healthy relationships with others in recovery

Inpatient rehab is essential for people who have:

  • A long history of addiction or a severe addiction
  • An unsafe or unstable living environment
  • A co-occurring mental illness
  • Little support at home or in the community
  • Little motivation to recover


Outpatient rehab involves living at home while receiving treatment at an outpatient center during the day or in the evenings. The benefits of outpatient treatment include:

  • It’s a more affordable option than inpatient treatment
  • The ability to continue working, going to school or caring for the family while in treatment
  • The opportunity to put skills and strategies to use right away in the “real” world

Outpatient treatment can work for people who have:

  • A safe, stable living environment at home
  • A high level of support at home and in the community
  • Good physical and mental health aside from the addiction
  • A high level of intrinsic motivation to recover

Individuals are placed in the setting that’s the least restrictive for their needs. They travel along a continuum of care until treatment and support are no longer needed.

Types of Treatment Programs

Some rehab programs offer specialized treatment for certain populations.

Trauma-informed treatment

Trauma-informed treatment helps people with a history of trauma recover in a highly safe and stable environment with therapists who specialize in treating trauma. Trauma changes the brain and leads to dysfunctional coping mechanisms, including substance abuse. Treating it involves helping individuals learn to separate themselves from the trauma and the resulting negative emotions. Trauma-informed treatment puts a strong focus on developing self-esteem and self-confidence, setting personal boundaries and developing feelings of safety and wellbeing.

Dual diagnosis treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment is essential for people who have a mental illness that co-occurs with the addiction. For treatment to be successful, both the mental illness and the addiction must be addressed at the same time, each in the context of the other. Treating just the addiction or just the mental illness is largely ineffective for ending substance abuse for the long-term.

Gender-specific treatment

Gender-specific treatment is ideal for some people in recovery. Both men and women who have experienced sexual abuse may prefer a women-only or men-only program. Some men and women are likely to feel more comfortable opening up and expressing difficult emotions or recounting troubling experiences in a gender-specific program rather than a co-ed program.

Additional Treatment Programs

Other types of programs include those that focus on LGBTQ+ issues, are religious-based or which focus on a certain age group, such as adolescents, young adults, midlife adults or aging adults.

What to Look For in a Quality Treatment Program

An accredited treatment program has been carefully and extensively audited by a third-party accreditation body. An accredited program will meet or exceed strict standards for care, programming, administration, accounting and transparency. It will use research-based treatments and best-practices protocol. The largest and most prestigious accrediting organizations are the Joint Commission and CARF International.

Qualified providers
A quality program will hire only state-licensed therapists and board-certified physicians. All staff members should be skilled professionals and adhere to professional standards of conduct.

Evidence-based therapies
A reputable treatment program will use only evidence-based therapies that have been shown through research to be effective for treating addiction. It will not use experimental or controversial treatment therapies or methods.

Family programming
Family participation in treatment has been shown to improve treatment outcomes. Family and addiction programming may include psychoeducational classes, workshops, support groups and family therapy. A proven track record A high-quality program will be able to back up its claims of effectiveness with documentation, and it will be happy to provide you with this information.

Holistic approach
A holistic approach to treatment promotes whole-person healing. This approach will involve a variety of traditional and complementary therapies that address issues of body, mind and spirit and attend to multiple needs of the individual.

Pleasing environment
An inpatient treatment center should feel warm and welcoming rather than cold and institutional. It should be clean, calm, and well-managed with clear expectations for behavior. You can arrange to visit a facility to get a first-hand look and talk to staff members.

Paying for Treatment

Treatment is expensive, and high-quality treatment programs will do their best to help you find a way to pay for it. Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can’t deny benefits for essential services, which include mental health and substance abuse treatment. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires insurance plans to offer the same level of benefits for substance abuse services as they offer for primary medical services.


A quality treatment program will help you determine whether it accepts your insurance, whether the program is considered in or out of network and whether you need a referral for the program. It will help you understand what, exactly, the insurance covers and what will need to be paid out of pocket.

Financing Options

If your loved one doesn’t have insurance and doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, the program will help you look for funding. Many programs offer sliding scale fees based on income, and some offer payment plans that allow you to pay for treatment over time.

Step Four: Talk to Your Loved One

The link between a supportive family and addiction recovery is an important one. Family members can have a major impact on whether a loved one gets help for an addiction.

Willing and Ready

If your loved one is willing to go to treatment and has been part of the process of finding an appropriate program, all that’s left to do is to call the center and start the admissions process. Reputable treatment centers understand that you’re going through a tough time, and the admissions counselors and other staff can patiently answer any questions you have and will help you through the admissions process every step of the way.

Facing Denial

If your loved one is unwilling to go to treatment, or in denial that substance abuse is a problem that requires professional help, you will need to convince them otherwise. If you feel that simply talking to your loved one will do the trick, find a time to talk when they’re sober. Avoid passing judgment or placing blame. Let your loved one know how the addiction has affected you and how you see it affecting them. Express love and concern, and ask them to agree to get help. If they agree, get into contact with the treatment program to arrange admission.


If you believe convincing your loved one to get help is going to be more complicated than a single conversation, or if you’re certain they’ll refuse treatment, a professional intervention can help. An intervention is a planned meeting between your loved one and concerned significant others, or CSOs. During an intervention, CSOs explain to the addicted loved one how the addiction is affecting their own lives. The meeting ends with an offer for professional help along with CSOs outlining consequences that will be put in place if treatment is refused, such as no longer giving the loved one money or asking him to move out of the house. Interventions that are planned and executed with the help of a professional have a 90 percent success rate in getting the loved one to agree to treatment, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. An intervention can be tricky, and attempting to hold one without professional help can quickly backfire, and in some cases, can make things worse. Many treatment programs offer intervention services, or you can ask an addiction specialist or mental health professional to recommend an interventionist.

Step Five: Get Support

If your loved one agrees to treatment, the hard -but highly rewarding- work is just beginning. If they refuse treatment, the most important thing you can do is follow through with the consequences you outlined in the intervention and hold on to hope that they will eventually come to the realization that they needs help. Either way, you and other family members will need a high level of support. Family and addiction are inextricably entwined, with each family member affected by the addiction in ways they may not realize.

Healing Unhealthy Behaviors

Family members often develop unhealthy coping skills while living with an addicted person, and may engage in codependent and enabling behaviors that can sabotage their loved one’s recovery. Just because your loved one enters recovery doesn’t mean these unhealthy coping mechanisms and behaviors will automatically end. Individual therapy can help you and other family members identify and change unhealthy coping strategies as well as recognize and stop codependent and enabling behaviors. Since children of an addicted parent are at a higher risk for substance abuse down the road, individual therapy for younger family members can help reduce the risk of continuing the cycle of addiction. Therapy also helps you and other family members understand how to best support your loved one in recovery and how to recognize the subtle signs of an impending relapse.

Support Groups for All

Family members should also engage with a support group. Al Anon is a large support network for adult family members of an addicted loved one5 Alateen is a support group for younger family members6 Your loved one’s treatment program may also offer a support group for family members. A support group offers crucial emotional support while your loved one is in treatment as well as during the early weeks and months of solo recovery. The support group will provide a safe place to express difficult or negative emotions as well as celebrate recovery milestones. It will offer resources, tips and encouragement and provide you with opportunities to help others in the same situation. If your loved one refuses treatment, participating in a support group nonetheless can help you better help your loved one come to the realization that they needs treatment, and it can help younger family members cope with the addiction in healthy ways.

Family and Addiction: Recovery is Possible

Hope is the foundation of recovery, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Hope is the belief that a better future is possible. There will be challenges in recovery and holding on to hope, offering love and support to your loved one during rough patches will go a long way toward promoting successful long-term recovery. Many people recover from even severe addictions and go on to live healthy, happy and productive lives. Treatment helps people learn to live their best possible life without needing drugs or alcohol to do it, and it can help your loved one end an addiction once and for all.

Dr. Venice Sanchez


Clinical Outreach Specialist, Europe Division

Dr. Sanchez works closely with Truvida Recovery patients regarding substance abuse and related mental illnesses and creates a supportive, cooperative and informed therapeutic environment. Her areas of expertise include Substance Dependence, Dual Diagnosis, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic Disorder, Bereavement, Acute stress disorder, and more. Ms Sanchez has extensive training with experts in the field of Substance Abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. She received a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continues training at the UC Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program and has been recognized with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award.

Jaime Askew


Clinical Director

Ms. Askew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has been working in the field treating substance abuse and mental health issues for over twenty years.  She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Pepperdine University and was among the first to obtain the LPCC license in the state of California.  She has been providing clinical supervision and training to interns, conducting workshops, and is a certified Trauma therapy trainer.  Her areas of expertise include working with legal issues, court ordered treatment, family preservation, trauma therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, family systems, social skills training, play therapy, and career/ vocational counseling.  Her passion is in advocating for at risk populations, holistic healing, and treating the underlying, core issues to help individuals achieve their maximum potential and happiness.  Jaime’s extensive experience and passionate leadership is of extreme importance to the overall TruVida clinical program, and her hands-on guidance of our clinical team insures that each patient is receiving optimal therapeutic treatment and care.

John Biroc

Consulting Psychologist

Dr. Biroc has a broad base of mental health and addiction recovery training and experience. He has supervised and taught therapists in various methodologies of effectively working with groups and individuals during therapy. He created and set up new group structures and trained staff in understanding the challenges of addiction recovery. He also helped develop curricula in Sociodrama and Psychodrama. Dr. Biroc is devoted to breaking paradigms that prevent progress in the path to lasting recovery. He is a member of the Nat’l Association of Marriage and Family therapists, and has a Ph.D. degree in Psychology, and a M.S. degree in Counseling from USC.

Dr. Nader Siahdohoni

Consulting Psychologist


Dr. Nader is one our esteemed consulting Psychologists who provides our Clients with various breakthrough therapy’s that focus the functional systems including neurons, neurotransmitters, and certain brain waves that enable the way we think, behave, move, feel, and maintain homeostasis. Such therapy’s include NeuroMax neurofeedback, the state of art integrated technology in Neurofeedback, combinations of wireless Electroencephalogram (EEG), real time brain mapping and a unique and exceptional neuropathway therapy called “Visual Concentration Attention Therapy (VCAT)”. Dr Nader graduated from Walden University.

Tiffany Agra


LMFT #103693

Ms. Agra is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who has been working with individuals, couples, families, and groups for the past seven years. Her other therapeutic approaches include Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Psychodynamic dream interpretation, and Gestalt Psychology. She has also been a Guest Speaker at other organizations. This unique background has made her effective at helping clients overcome the grip of substance addiction. Tiffany obtained two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s degree from the California State University, Long Beach. She has worked for both the county of Orange and Riverside, helping those who struggle with addiction and mental illness. In addition to providing evidenced-based approaches to the clinical program at Truvida Recovery, she brings her compassion as a fellow addict in recovery; living proof that we do get better!

Deborah Wieland


MS, LMFT #96864

Ms. Wieland is an Eclectic EMDR Therapist, using R-TEP and G-TEP, and specializes in several modalities in treating Substance Use issues, Dual Diagnosis, Complex Trauma, and Severe Mental illness. Deborah also provides several types of therapy such as Psychodynamic, Rogerian, CBT, DBT, IFS, PICT, MI, Grief Recovery, Sand Tray, and Attachment Theory to help her patients achieve mental wellness and a sober lifestyle.

She has worked with Psychiatric Hospitals providing crisis interventions and psychotherapy to those struggling with substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and domestic violence. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Vanguard University of Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing her Doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at Cal Southern University. Deborah is an active member of EMDRIA, California Association Marriage Family Therapist (CAMFT), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and Psi Chi International Honors Society of Psychology.

Ashley McLaughlin

LMFT Therapist

Ms. McLaughlin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in EMDR therapy. She brings over ten years of experience working in the field of addiction to the Truvida Team. She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and has two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Economics from University of California, San Diego. Ms. McLaughlin was trained in EMDR in 2013 and since has been helping individuals process through past traumatic experiences that have contributed to current struggles with substance abuse and mental health symptoms. Her extensive experience and passion for this field has helped guide individuals through the process of recovery in order to experience freedom from their past and a hope for their future.

Travis Taylor



Mr. Taylor is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in  Drug Abuse & Addiction,  PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality, Codependency, Coping Skills, Depression, Dual Diagnosis. Taylor uses an integrative approach geared towards understanding self, specifically what drives one’s thoughts and behaviors. He excels in helping patients identify automatic thoughts that lead to specific feelings and undesired actions. Another useful approach stems from understanding how thoughts and behaviors are fueled by former messages that have been consistently reinforced. Travis has over 6 years of therapeutic practice and obtained a Master’s degree at Vanguard University.

Kat Johnson

AOD Counselor, Group Facilitator

With almost 10 years experience working at treatment centers, Kat Johnson shares her wisdom and passion for balanced living, creative writing, and meditation and how each plays a role in early recovery and beyond. Certified as a CADC II, and supported by a bachelors in psychology, Kat’s infectious energy brings her groups to life. She is grateful for every opportunity to spread health and wellness.

Emily Mayot

LCSW Therapist

Ms. Mayot is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in anxiety, depression, transitions, trauma, grief/loss and substance abuse. She has earned a bachelor in psychology from Cal State University Fullerton, and a master in social work at University of Southern California (USC). Emily has been trained in but not limited to CBT, CPT, Motivational Interviewing, and EMDR. Her experience stems from inpatient treatment centers, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and outpatient community mental health.

Her style is compassionate, non-judgmental, down-to-earth, flexible and organized. The approach she takes is to meet you where you are at in the present moment and time. This creates more understanding and a strong collaboration in creating/accomplishing goals.

Lesley Richards

AOD Counselor, Interventionist

Ms. Richards began in this field of healthcare as a volunteer for substance abuse treatment centers and worked her way up from there. Lesley has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict. It is her strong belief that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to have a safe and sober life.  She is very compassionate about her work as an addiction counselor, and has a strong commitment in helping patients struggling with addiction in developing healthy coping mechanisms, and developing new positive behavioral habits.  Her Group counseling sessions are highly sought after within the TruVida program.  Lesley is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), National Certified Intervention Professional (NCIP), Nationally Certified Recovery Coach (NCRC), and is a member of the California Consortium of Addiction programs (CCAP), as well as the International Association of Addiction Professionals.

Christine Green

Treatment Facilitator

Christine Green is a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. Ms. Green is dedicated to helping patients struggling with substance abuse transform their lives through a consciousness-based approach to body-in-motion fitness.

Christine passionately shares her 18 years experience with our clients by sharing her specialized Yoga & Energy Healing Program, which she has developed over the past 8 years of working directly with addicts and alcoholics. Her Yoga program facilitates integration of all the layers of life – environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual with the primary initial goal of overcoming withdrawal symptoms and cravings from drug and alcohol dependency. TruVida is fortunate to have her as part of the team.

Allison Goode

Art in Recovery Counselor

Allison Goode is a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and professional artist for over 15 years, and has developed a very successful and trans-formative Art in Recovery program in treatment facilities through out California. Her passion for the fine arts and helping others recover from substance abuse addiction is contagious. Allison has a unique ability to connect with clients through the creative process helping clients set positive goals for their recovery. Ms. Goode has studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at Laguna College of Art and Design, is a certified RADT1 technician, and is currently completing her CCAPP certification program.

Thomas Mladinich

Admissions Manager

Mr. Mladinich’s hard work ethic and dedication make him a key part of the TruVida team. Tom’s ability to connect and relate with others have allowed him to excel as admissions manager. His personal experience has allowed him to proudly serve those in need of recovery from addiction. Tom is eager to work with our clients and provide the experience, strength and hope that they need to find success in recovery.

Willie Sanchez

Operations Manager

Mr. Sanchez is a self-motivated professional with a positive attitude. He is actively involved in a 12 step fellowship. He effectively contributes to each Patient with their struggles with addiction. Willie is RADT1 certified counselor and has been educated at Long Beach City College.

Jose Flores

Program Manager

Mr. Flores is a highly motivated and hardworking team member with TruVida. He has several years of experience working in treatment helping individuals get back on track, achieving a lot of great results. He brings problem solving skills and experience to use everyday, and is proud and passionate about his profession as a RADT-I program manager.

Dr. Mitchell Naficy

Medical Doctor

Medical Director

Dr. Naficy is a Board Certified Family Physician with over 25 years of clinical experience. In 1985, he graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Microbiology and French Literature. In 1990, he received his Medical Doctor degree, and in 1991 completed his post graduate training at the University of Southern California Medical Center. In 1998, he completed his residency at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center.

Dr. Naficy style of patient care involves caring for the person as a whole, rather than just treating a particular symptom or illness. Dr. Naficy has extensive experience in treating the physiological aspects of addiction detox and is highly respected in the field by both his colleagues and patients.

Sound Bath Therapy

Truvida’s sound bath treatment is a very effective experiential therapy that uplifts one’s body, mind and soul. Our certified Sound Healer plays crystal singing bowls as well as the gongs to stimulate various chakra centers.

For more than 50,000 years, sound has been used to heal, and motivate the human soul.  During a sound bath or sound healing session, one’s brain waves & breathing become regulated and synchronized, producing a deep sense of peace & well being. Bathing in sacred sound allows us to powerfully resonate with frequencies that allow us to balance & heal on all levels.

Sound therapy allows professionals to tackle addiction at a brainwave level, thus making it much easier for patients to achieve a meditative state and come to terms with their problems. Sound Therapy redresses imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and plays a positive and powerful role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.

Substance Abuse can also lead to the development of a co-occurring condition (or vice versa) and cleansing the body of a substance isn’t always enough for a complete and lasting recovery. Patients must also address the physiological and emotional issues that may have led to the destructive behavior in the first place.

Evidence shows that the outcomes of sound therapy are extremely positive and beneficial to patients’ behavior, especially when doctors pair them with other scientific methods, such as individual therapy, behavioral therapy, and so on.

Natural Benefits Of Sound Therapy:

TruVida’s Sound Therapy is performed by Andrew Hubbard who is a certified Sound Bath practitioner and conducted multiple college level studies in Sound Therapy and Music theory.

Robert (Bobby) Nicholl

Admissions and Interventions

Bobby has spent over 15 years in the development and operations of several residential treatment centers in California. He is a Certified National Drug & Alcohol Interventionist, as well as a Registered Addiction Specialist. Mr. Nicholl is personally involved in Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California. He says, “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him.” As Bobby says: “I’ve recently learned what really matters the most in life: God, my relationships, and my integrity. There is nothing more important!”

“If you have a hole in your life and your very inner being (your soul) feels empty and hungry? Then welcome, to Celebrate Hope, you’re at the right place for healing and restoration of mind, body, and spirit; we will provide you with a dignified setting and surround you with loving people. You’re going to get everything you need and even some of your wants while Celebrating Hope. Everywhere you look you’re surrounded by people who believe in you and believe you have what it takes to recover, heal, and be WHOLE. We believe in and love you because He (God) first believed in and loved us.” From day one, Bobby has focused treatment services on “What is in the best interest of the client?” With that in mind, the treatment team develops individualized treatment plans with each client’s specific needs in mind.

Charlie Grooms

Christian Pastor

Pastor Charlie leads our Christ – centered addiction treatment program dealing with men and women who are seeking restoration from drug and alcohol addiction through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our program is based entirely on the Word of God, the Bible, and all counsel originates from it. Our experience has been that with a solid grounding in the Bible and good Christian living skills, numerous men and women have been able to become productive, vital members of their community. Our primary focus is to establish, or strengthen, a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to experience true freedom from the bondage of the sin of addiction

Charlie is originally from Columbus, Ohio where he attended a Christian college and then traveled across the country to California to continue his education at Bethel School of Ministry and graduated in 2015. Charlie has conducted interviews with TBN and other nation wide radio stations.

Michael Rosales

Case Manager – Christian Minister

Bio coming soon!

Dr. Ryan Wright

Psychiatrist, M.D.

Dr. Wright is a Board Certified Psychiatrist and a Board Certified Addiction Medicine Specialist currently practicing in Newport Beach, CA. He provides general psychiatric services for adult patients who are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, or thought disorders. For every new patient, Dr. Wright provides a comprehensive initial psychiatric assessment, and offers subsequent mental health treatment including medication management and individual psychotherapy.

Kim Brassett

LMFT Therapist

Ms. Kim Brassett is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She brings over 7 years of experience to the Truvida Team, and is EMDR Therapist. Her style is warm, supportive & positive and her philosophy is healing happens when the therapeutic relationship is collaborative, honest, compassionate, respectful and caring. She comes from a place of personal experience and a genuine desire to help make a significant improvement in the lives of the people with whom she works with. She provides a unique therapeutic approach to treat a wide variety of conditions including addiction & recovery, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, sexual abuse, trauma, grief and loss, relationship issues and life transitions. Kim works with clients from various cultures and backgrounds as well as all ages, and strives to create a supportive, safe environment where one can share their experiences, emotions, challenges.

Leah Dean

LMFT Therapist

Ms. Leah Dean is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is Certified in Dual Disorders. She brings over ten years of experience to the TruVida Team. Her therapies concentrate on Drug and Alcohol abuse/use, grief and loss, blended families, Dual Diagnosis, divorce recovery, Parent/Child Conflicts, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, stress management, and Gay & Lesbian issues. Her goal it that each of her clients enrich their personal and relational growth as well as enhance their emotional healing. She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and believes that mind, body and spirit are essential components to healing. Her Psychotherapy provides the ceremonial time/space for honoring one’s movement thru important life passages. Leah utilize the 12-Step program/concepts to help deal with the difficult issues of drug and alcohol abuse/use, and incorporates spirituality as well as self actualization, and mindlfullness.