Therapies & Activities

Part of the treatment philosophy at our rehab centers is that our clients must not only achieve sobriety, but they must learn how to enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. The men and women in our treatment programs greatly benefit from the many enjoyable rehab activities that our location affords us.

Bonding with Others in Recovery

Many of our clients emphatically report that the weekly surf outing is the highlight of their week. Our staff and the alumni who participate in the surf program are people who have recovered from drug and alcohol abuse themselves. People who have embraced the 12-step philosophy are grateful to be free of active drug and alcohol addiction and know that a key part of the 12-step program is working with others who are suffering from addiction or alcoholism. Friendships are formed during this (and our many other activities) that give newly sober individuals the chance to bond with and learn from people they can relate to and trust. There is occasionally a sing-a-long heard from our group of surfers between sets of waves.

Some of the activities we offer are:

  • Daily 24 Hour Fitness Visits
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Softball
  • Basketball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Frisbee/Disc Golf
  • 5K Run
  • Golfing
  • Yoga
  • Surfing Classes
  • Soccer
  • Ropes Course
  • Rock Climbing
  • Equine Assisted Therapy

This environment of support and acceptance is one in which all who want to participate feel welcome. Many of our clients have never tried surfing before, but discover a passion for it here. Some of the newer faces start out by swimming in the shallow surf and then catching their first few waves on a boogie board.

Having Fun in Sobriety

Just like many of our activities, the clients who participate in the surf program may interact with others who are not part of our rehab group.  The other surfers from the Newport Beach community don’t even know that our group is from a treatment center. There is plenty of supervision during the surf program, but it is a powerful part of our recovery program for the men and women in our treatment programs to begin integrating back into society. If many others are up early surfing and can do so by choice and without drugs or alcohol, then our clients realize they can, too. Sober Living by the Sea’s many activities are designed toward this end – teaching our clients how to have fun in sobriety.

Evidence-based Practices

We have built our treatment processes upon evidence based practices, meaning that the treatment activities have been scientifically shown to be effective by research studies in the fields of psychology and addiction.

12-Step Principles

The 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous is very helpful as a social support system for those in recovery. The 12-Step model is based on working through a series of “steps” with a “sponsor” (and then helping other newcomers once the 12 steps are completed).  We integrate 12-Step meetings into treatment daily and help our clients plan their meeting attendance in the area to which they are going after completing treatment.  The 12-Step program is very beneficial for it’s widespread availability and uniformity.

Stages of Change

It is normal for clients to go through a progression of attitude shifts when they are in treatment.  Our treatment team uses the Stages of Change model to “meet the client where they currently are.” If a client is in the “pre-contemplation stage,” they are still not yet acknowledging that there is a problem.  This stage requires an entirely different clinical intervention than if the client is in the “contemplation stage” (acknowledging problem but not yet ready or sure of wanting to make a change).  Clients will respond to different instructions, questions, and assignments depending on which stage of change they are in.


Medications are an important element of treatment for many clients.  There have recently been great advancements made in medications that help regulate cravings (like Vivitrol and Suboxone).  We have consulting psychiatrists and several nurses on staff who are trained to recognize the need for such medications. Research has shown that the likelihood of a long term positive outcome  goes up when anti-craving medications are integrated into treatment. Since our philosophy is based upon giving the client “the best possible change at achieving long term sobriety,” we make it a priority to use the latest proven pharmacological tools to enhance treatment.

Motivational Interviewing

Addiction is often accompanied by denial.  Motivational interviewing is a therapeutic technique that helps an individual acknowledge the problem behavior and guides them through ambivalence to the point of desiring to make a change.  Motivational interviewing does not confront the client and tell them what to do,but rather asks questions that will lead the client to come to conclusions that a change is needed.  Our clinicians use motivational interviewing to establish rapport and create a cooperative therapeutic setting.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very effective approach to building awareness in the client of the effect their own thoughts have on the way they feel.  We find that many of our clients perceive events in their lives through a filter which  causes negative emotions.  Through the probing questions of CBT, clients will learn to see things in a more positive light – and not internalize the things that they would previously dwell on.  Our staff is also fond of CBT because it is designed to get results quickly instill a lasting change in the way clients perceive life’s events.  

Contingency Management

Contingency management is method of motivating change through positive and negative consequences. Contingency management is illustrated by our  progressive stages of treatment in our programs.  Within each program there are stages that clients progress through by maintaining sobriety and achieving therapeutic progress.  Then clients may also “step down” from one program to the next if they are demonstrating readiness for less structure.  Clients at our treatment centers benefit from the continuum of care we offer because it allows for continuity of treatment staff through the progression of programs.

Family Systems

We have found that the greatest progress is made when the entire family system is addressed during the treatment process. Addiction occurs as a result of both genetic and environmental factors.  The client’s family figures prominently in both of these areas.The disease of addiction is so gradually progressive that often an entire family system will be participating in the “charade of normalcy” by protecting the substance abuser and enabling the addictive behavior.  Every program in our treatment network has a “family program” component and the family is welcomed into the treatment process.

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At Sober Living by the Sea, client care and well being comes first and foremost always. The entire staff has incredible compassion for all who come in for help and I instantly felt at home there — something I have never felt in other recovery centers.

– Former Patient
Marks of Quality care
Our accreditations show our focus on quality care.
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)