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What To Expect

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What to Expect

Medical detox is often a necessary first step on an individual’s journey of addiction recovery. During medical detox, a person undergoes a safe and pain-free drug or alcohol withdrawal in a closely monitored environment. He or she has access to around-the-clock medical care, and symptoms associated with withdrawal are closely overseen in order to ensure that no serious complications occur. Although the physical symptoms associated with withdrawal are not always severe, psychological cravings often lead newly sober individuals to relapse. For this reason, being in a secured environment is extremely important. Medical detox also serves as a thorough introduction to the remainder of the recovery process. At Guardian Recovery we believe that medical detox should propel individuals forward to the next step in their recovery journey.

When entering into a medical detox program, you can expect to undergo a detailed assessment upon arrival. At Guardian Recovery we conduct a multi-phased assessment that covers physical health, psychological health and family history, while also providing a psychosocial evaluation. Once the assessment is complete, clients are shown to their bedroom. If the symptoms of withdrawal are moderate or severe, clients receive medical attention and are encouraged to relax and focus their attention on physical stabilization. If their symptoms are easily managed and do not prevent them from participating in our schedule of recovery-related therapies, we encourage clients to take advantage of as many as possible.

A standard day in medical detox looks something like this:

  • You are able to sleep in as long as you would like to, but may have your vitals checked in the morning.
  • Once you do wake up, you have access to a healthy, chef-prepared breakfast that can be enjoyed in our community dining hall.
  • Throughout the day you have access to a range of group workshops that focus on a range of recovery-related topics, from relapse prevention to the Disease Model of Addiction.
  • At lunchtime you have the option of enjoying another chef-prepared meal or making your own meal from the healthy provisions in our fully-stocked kitchen.
  • You have access to at least one recovery-related meeting every day. If you are feeling up to doing so you are encouraged to participate in as many meetings as possible to practice being a part of a recovery community.
  • At least once during your stay you will meet with either a licensed therapist or a case manager for a one-on-one session, and if you have a dual-diagnosis disorder, you may also meet with a licensed psychiatrist
  • In your downtime you can either relax in your bedroom or spend time in well-appointed common areas with other clients.
  • During the evening you can enjoy a nutritious chef-prepared meal. We also often provide nighttime activities like game nights or movie nights, giving clients an opportunity to socialize.
  • If you are experiencing any uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms you have 24/7 access to a team of medical practitioners who offer medication assisted treatment and other proven detox options.
  • You will have your vitals checked on a routine basis.
  • You will have access to a smoking patio.
If you have any additional questions about what to expect from medical detox, contact us at any point in time. We understand that the prospect of undergoing withdrawal deters many people from seeking professional help. At Guardian Recovery we are completely dedicated to client comfort and a safe, pain-free withdrawal.

What to Expect from Residential Inpatient

During residential inpatient treatment each individual has the opportunity to recover from their addiction, and work on the underlying issues that might have led to the development of substance abuse in the first place. Most of Guardian’s residential programs last between 28 and 60 days. Inpatient treatment places a heavy focus on therapy. Clients participate in individual therapy at least once a week, group therapy every single day, and family therapy whenever possible. It is during this stage of the recovery process that clients begin to build the motivation they need in order to stay sober long-term. Clients learn to identify their own personal relapse triggers, and they are instilled with the tools and coping mechanisms they need to work through these triggers in the real world.

When entering into a residential treatment program, you can expect the following on a day-to-day basis:

  • Waking up at the same time every day and beginning the day with a group check-in or meditation.
  • Breakfast. Our private chefs prepare a healthy and nutrient-dense breakfast.
  • A full day of intense individual and group therapy. A range of therapeutic techniques are utilized, including cognitive behavioral therapydialectical behavior therapytraditional talk therapy or trauma therapy.
  • A variety of recovery related group workshops occur throughout the day. Clients might participate in a holistic practice (such as guided meditation or acupuncture); or they might work on the 12 Steps. They might have the opportunity to partake in a professionally instructed yoga class, or they might go on a hike or beach trip with several support staff members and their peers. Every day is packed with different activities, all geared toward therapeutic healing.
  • Lunch.
  • A continuation of therapy and group workshops/activities.
  • Dinner.
  • Optional participation in 12-Step, Smart Recovery or other recovery meeting.
  • Social activities with fellow clients
  • Clients are encouraged to jot down their thoughts, feelings and experiences in a journal before bed.

What to Expect from Partial Hospitalization

Partial Hospitalization, more commonly referred to as PHP, is a treatment stage that generally follows residential inpatient treatment. It offers clients a high level of clinical care with slightly more freedom than residential inpatient. When entering into a PHP program you can expect to undergo five or six full days of treatment activities for between five and eight hours every day. Being actively engaged in a PHP program equates to roughly the same time commitment as having a full time job. However, clients have more personal freedom and flexibility in the sense that they are able to return home to a sober living home every evening, and have a day or two free. PHP centers around therapeutic intervention (individual, group and family therapy), relapse prevention training, the development of crucial life skills and participation in a recovery community of one’s choosing.

What to Expect from Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive Outpatient Treatment, more commonly referred to as IOP, is a treatment stage that generally follows PHP or residential inpatient but can be a stand alone treatment option. Most IOP programs meet for between three and five days a week for four or five hours each day. IOP is an ideal option for someone who has completed a higher level of care, or for someone who is suffering from a mild or moderate substance abuse disorder and no underlying issues. When entering into an IOP program, you can expect several hours of group therapy and recovery-related group workshops every day the group meets. A strong emphasis is placed on relapse prevention training, and clients have the opportunity to process their day-to-day experiences in early sobriety with a group of their peers. These experiences are processed in a safe and supportive setting, and clients learn how to communicate with one another in healthy and productive ways as they offer support and encouragement.

An emphasis is also placed on life skills training. Clients learn the skills they need to interview for jobs, stay committed to careers long-term, save and budget their earnings, continue their educational pursuits (if desired), communicate effectively in a variety of settings, work towards financial independence and care for themselves in a variety of other ways.

IOP allows individuals to slowly re-integrate into the world-at-large, learning little-by-little how to live life sober.

Which Level of Care is Right for Me?

Choosing the right level of care for you or your loved one might seem difficult. Fortunately, at Guardian Recovery, we are available to help you every single step of the way. The moment you decide to seek treatment, contact us. We will begin helping you develop a plan of action. If you are unsure which level of care best meets your personal needs, we will conduct a brief pre-assessment over the phone to help our clinical team determine which level of care is right for you or your loved one. If you or your loved one has been suffering at the hands of a substance abuse disorder of any severity, we usually recommend medical detox as a necessary first step. Once you or your loved one has been physically stabilized, however, the next appropriate level of care will depend on personal need. We look forward to speaking with you soon and helping you begin your own personal journey of addiction recovery.

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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