Detox & Drug Rehab In Orange County

The Ties That Bind (and Break) a Family

Addiction does not discriminate. It does not care about age, socio-economics, geography, culture, religion or education. It is a disease and needs to be treated as such. While it may be true that many are able to drink socially or even take medications as prescribed and never become addicted, many are not as fortunate. The reasons and risk factors behind why someone drinks or uses drugs are complex, and using is often a way to escape emotional, physical or psychological pain. Often times it is the underlying motivations behind the drug seeking behaviors, than the frequency of use. Denial and delusion cloud judgement and delays facing the truth. Opening your eyes (and heart) can be the beginning of a new life for a loved one.

So many of us have heard that addiction is a disease that affects everyone in the family. No matter how strong the bonds, when addiction takes its hold, it will literally break a family apart. From our work with hundreds of families - from the first phone call through a client completing treatment  - we are here to give hope to families during their darkest times.

Here is a story from a daughter about her mother that hid her addiction to prescription pills for over twenty years. It was not until a near-death overdose that her family found out how bad things had become.

“It was about 2 o’clock in the morning and I received a phone call from an emergency room that my mother had overdosed on Xanax. After my mother was stabilized, I called around for rehab places in Orange County and reached out to Coastline Behavioral Health. It was not until several weeks into our mom’s treatment that my brothers and I learned how bad things had gotten. Sure we were adults and did not live at home anymore, but how could our mom been taking up 15 Xanax a day and we never knew about it?”

When is it Time to Let Go?
When we are working with families that have given up hope, so many will ask us, “How will this time be different? What should I do differently? Where did things go wrong? Are we to blame?” Guilt and shame, and the countless rewinding of the “tape” to see where things went wrong are racing thoughts through the mind of every mother, father, husband, wife, brother, sister, daughter or son in the families we have helped. Instead of looking back, we encourage families to look forward and see what can be done differently this time. These may be heartbreaking decisions. What person would ever want to turn away a loved one? In reality, this may be the only choice to save their life.

Here is a story from a mother that was sure that it would never happen to her family until her son almost died before he got clean.

“My beautiful boy was full of life, had friends and did well in school. He did not come from a ‘broken home’ and he always seemed very emotionally mature. It was not until he went away to college that he started drinking more than socially and his using quickly progressed within a few short months. It seemed like he was on an endless chase to find a better and better high. He eventually dropped out of school and was basically living on the streets, only calling us every few months when he needed money. Financial strains, lying and stealing literally broke our family apart. It was not until after 3 different attempts at rehab and subsequent relapse, that his father and I had to let go. It was during his 4th return to rehab at Coastline that we had a family session with his therapist. We were told that while our love for our son was a blessing, our actions were enabling our son to continue in his addiction. We agreed that we would cut financial support and not allow him to return home if he left treatment before completion.”

Healing and Rebuilding Trust
Not every story has a happy ending, but with these two stories there is hope for these families broken by addiction. First was through acceptance and second was through willingness. Both of these clients completed the treatment program at Coastline and are still sober today. Each of them has shared with us their efforts to heal their family relationships and rebuild trust. And more importantly, they know they cannot turn back time and undo the pain they caused. Instead, they can live for today and continue on their path in sobriety.  

Resources and Suggested Reading

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Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters

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Fostering an Attitude of Accountability

Coastline Behavioral Health for Women facilitates group and individual sessions to help our clients develop life skills that can help them reach their goals and to live to their full potential. Perhaps the most important life skill is the ability and willingness to learn. By learning new skills we increase our understanding of the world around us and equip ourselves with the tools we need to live a more productive and fulfilling life, and to have ways to cope with the challenges when living a healthy life in recovery. The following was inspired from a recent session that focused on accountability.

Taking personal responsibility allows you to gain control over outcomes in your life by making informed, smart choices. There is value in admitting past mistakes because it helps you make better choices in the future. Remember, there are always consequences (negative and positive) for the choices you make.

Just the thought of taking on one more responsibility is perhaps stressful, especially if you already overwhelmed by staying sober and rebuilding your life. There is one positive way to think about it. Being more responsible can also mean taking more control over what happens to you.

Think about this. There is trash on the front sidewalk. Who picks it up? We all so often hear, it’s not my job! No, it’s not your job, but you live there and it may reflect poorly on you. Not taking responsibility for what goes undone is one thing, but if you don’t learn to take responsibility for decisions in your life you will pay a price. For everything in life, there is a price and a pay-off.

Like the example shown above, learning to take responsibility helps you take control of your future and help in your recovery. By owning up to past mistakes and being accountable, you can:

The more you can determine the positive things in your life, the more you will have them. If you leave control in the hands of someone else, or in the hands of the “system,” you will no doubt find the outcome may not be what you want. One way of getting more of what you want from life is to make sure that the outcome turns out in your favor, so start being more accountable and start taking responsibility! Your life will change.

The Substance Abuse Evaluation Process

A substance abuse evaluation is used to assess someone’s drug and alcohol use. This evaluation can be completed online before meeting with the certified substance abuse counselor. It may be required that you have a drug and alcohol screening. Typically, the evaluation is court ordered once a crime has been committed, like drinking and driving.


The questionnaire will ask questions regarding your drug and alcohol use history. You will be asked if your finances, employment, and/or relationships have been affected by substance abuse. The questionnaire can help the counselor find the underlying reason for your drug or alcohol abuse, such as anxiety or depression.

The Interview

If you are required to have a substance abuse evaluation done by a court of law, you will need to have your court documentation for your interview. This includes your criminal history report, any arrest documents, and, if your evaluation is because of a DUI, a seven-year motor vehicle report.

At the interview, you will be questioned about the information asked in the questionnaire. The counselor will ask any other questions they may have about your drug and alcohol use. Though this may be uncomfortable, be truthful with your answers. This process is to provide help for you, not to embarrass you.

The certified counselor will also ask you to provide contact information for others that may be questioned about your substance abuse. You will need to provide their full name, all their contact info, and a good time to reach them. Though it can be uncomfortable knowing that others are being asked about your substance abuse, it is to further benefit you. Interviewing others may help you get the assistance you need.


The counselor may require you to provide a urine sample to test for drugs in your system. During the screening process, be honest if you have recently used alcohol or drugs, and let them know if you are on any prescription medications. The drug and alcohol screening will greatly influence the recommendations the counselor makes to the court.


Once the certified counselor has all the documents and interviews done, they will go before the court and make recommendations on your treatment. There are three categories the certified counselor may place you in:

  1. Drug or alcohol dependent: if the counselor determines you are chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol, the court will require you to attend a rehabilitation center. You may be required to attend between eight months and two years.
  2. Suffering from abuse of drugs or alcohol: if the counselor believes you are abusing alcohol or drugs, or if your usage is leading you towards addiction, the court will mandate you to attend counseling. Counseling is typically mandated by the court for 6 to 12 months.
  3. Not enough evidence: if the counselor doesn’t have enough evidence to diagnose one of the above categories, the court will send you to a drug and alcohol school. This usually only lasts one day and teaches you the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

If you are required to have a substance abuse evaluation, remember to be honest throughout the entire process. The evaluation is to help you, not to hurt you.

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