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Alumni, Dec-15

If you’re looking for a client-centered recovery facility, this is your place! Having just completed a month’s stay at Alo House, I can’t say enough about their client-centered approach.

I was their first client after last month’s fires in Malibu which forced their relocation to alternative facilities in West Los Angeles. From my pick-up at LAX by the delightful Mel, I never once felt that Alo was cutting corners on client well-being and needs — all while they were literally ‘rising from the ashes’ to re-establish their operations in new premises. They did this with a calm, collected and professional demeanour and a constant focus on client satisfaction. Every request is met with their full attention — from switching out a mattress for better sleep comfort to issues around diet preferences to providing insight into their theraptic process to requests for certain common areas to be designated non-smoking. The procurement manager went out and bought a ‘goodie basket’ of cheeses, cold cuts, crackers, coffee and other edibles after I casually mentioned wishing my house had some sandwich fixings. Alo has been great about providing transport when I wished to go somewhere outside the facility. I was particularly interested in having yoga as a central piece of my recovery journey, so Alo arranged private instruction for me.

Alo’s staff clearly enjoy their work and have respect for the company. Many have worked at other recovery centers and, almost without exception, claim that Alo is the best they have encountered so far.

Although perhaps not the center-piece of one’s recovery, special mention must be made of the quality of the food served at Alo. Chefs Jorge and David never ceased to amaze with the quality of food. It is prepared fresh, beautifully presented and made from the best quality ingredients. The menus are varied and balanced. I kept joking that they should team up with Weight Watchers because one could be tempted to ‘go to town’ on the food. I was able to maintain a well-balanced and nutritious diet during the entirety of my stay at Alo.

The accommodations are comfortable and well maintained by the charming and friendly dynamic duo of Oli and Gina. Each room is a large screen tv — great for binge-watching HBO during downtime — and common areas are nicely appointed and cosy.

The therapists/case managers are skilled professionals with a high level of commitment and professionalism. My case manager, Jodi, and primary therapist, Rudy, were fully commited to my well-being and made that abundantly clear with each interaction. All boundaries of confidentiality are maintained. They do their best to run productive groups despite a mixed cohort of clients with varying levels of commitment and participation. Staff could strive to institute more rigour and discipline for ensuring client participation, although it is understandable when this is not doable given that each client is on their own path to recovery and has their own level of commitment to the process.

The medical oversight is top-notch. Drs. Stanley, Benya and Sagan and RN Missy are commited professionals with a personable approach. The frequency of consultations is high and medical staff are available whenever needed, even when not on-site. Alo maintains strict protocols and is completely on top of client medical treatment.

I loved Bob Forrest’s talks on Tuesday evenings. Bob is engaging, clear, witty and personable. A great asset to Alo. Owners Evan and Jared are also very personable and have a keen interest in hearing from clients in order to make the Alo experience as beneficial and rich as it can be. They have had a lot on their plates as a result of the Malibu fires. I never once saw them looking stressed out or had the impression that their focus was anything other than the well-being and comfort of clients. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the great Shift Leads and Residential Advisors (RAs) who literally keep it all happening 24/7. Finally, I loved my two horse ‘vision rides’ in the Will Rogers State Park with the amazing and kind Corey.

What I have taken from my month at Alo is what I consider to be the fundamentals of well-being: (i) good sleep; (ii) good diet; and (iii) good exercise. It doesn’t get more basic than that. I thank Alo for helping me find those again.

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