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Practical Recovery: AA Alternative Centers Proliferate
Written by Ted Jackson   
May 2012

Tom Horvath, an entrepreneurial psycholoigist and founder of San Diego's Practical Recovery treatment center, has for years been a thought leader in the AA alternative treatment arena.

When Tom Horvath surveys the addiction treatment drug rehab alcohol rehab landscape, he sees a future where half of all addiction centers are non 12-step. While the market is not there yet, if it ever will be, it is certainly a fact that there appears to have been a shift in the higher end private addiction treatment centers, especially in areas like So Cal, toward alternatives.

Trending Malibu

In clinical trend setting Malibu, for example, most centers no longer bill themselves as 12-step - though most rely to some extent on that modality still - instead emphasizing the comprehensiveness of their approaches. For Horvath, this is nothing new. As the founder of the San Diego addiction treatment center Practical Recovery, and since the 1980s as a practicing psychologist, Horvath has for years been a thought leader in the 12-step alternative arena. Offering outpatient since the late 1990s and since 2005 doing between $1M and $1.5M annually of such business, Horvath is leveraging his alternative expertise into an aggressive expansion of Practical Recovery, putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to expansion of this type of care in the addictions marketplace.

Google's Tyranny

A cautious spender of marketing dollars - a key execution attribute for treatment entrepreneurs in these days of the Tyranny of Google - Horvath has successfully engineered an 18-bed growth play into residential over the past two years. In the process, annual Practical Recovery revenues could as much as triple from pre-residential days, to between $4M and $5M, if census expectations are met for the remainder of 2012. Having brought on a new marketing chief, Horvath is confident that the typical summer slowdown will reverse in the fall and that expectations will become reality. "We like the market for alternatives right now and see a lot of growth potential, especially for Practical Recovery, where for a long time we have been honing our clinical approaches."

Full Continuum

Hunkering down with his staff, Horvath is now beginning to work on plans for further growth. With a relatively middle of the road price point - most clients are spending between $15K and $20K for their residential care - Practical Recovery sees opportunity at the extremes. In the next year or so plans are too roll out expansion that offers care at the very affordable end - perhaps as low as $5K - and at the $60K plus ultra high end. Thus will Practical Recovery have, in the estimation of Horvath, a full continuum of program offerings enabling the center to tap into all areas of alternative care demand.

BHOPB Adapts

South Florida's Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, BHOPB, has for more than two decades been a center that has had strong roots in the AA-based ractitional model, with its clinicians logging many years of recovery themselves and deeply attached to spiritual, AA modalities. Nevertheless, BHOPB CEO Alan Stevens is highly sensitive to the exigencies of the market. "There is no question that demand is there for alternative approaches," Stevens told Treatment Magazine recently.

"Half Don't Want AA"BHOPB's Sea Side Palm Beach is located on Ocean Drive directly across from the beach and ocean.

"At least half of all clients in our [high end] Sea Side Palm Beach program say they do NOT want to do an AA recovery." In response to this demand for alternatives to AA, and despite its roots in AA-based care, BHOPB has developed an alternative approach to meet the demands of its clientele. "When you see the sheer volume of people who are coming in and seeking something else, it becomes a matter of survival, from a treatment center operation perspective, to start offering alternatives to AA.," says Stevens. As a result, BHOPB has developed what it calls the "Path to Recovery," for which the center has even applied for a patent. "We are finding that many people who were resistant to AA at first are not as much so by the end of their stay with us. Nevertheless, the demand for alternatives is strong, and centers ignore it at their peril."

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Recovering from addiction after rehab
written by Treatment for addiction, July 01, 2013
After Rehab though, I think 12 step programs are the best for aftercare and sustaining recovery.
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