Our Philosophy

We believe trust, meaningful connections, and kindness are the essentials to beginning a journey in recovery. We are dedicated to providing an honest, authentic, and genuine treatment environment that gives our clients a unique, highly personal opportunity for healing.

Our care is provided by skilled professionals who truly understand addiction and the underlying trauma or ‘hurt’ that usually causes it.  “Addiction is not the problem. Addiction is the addict’s attempt to solve a problem,” as Dr. Gabor Mate points out.  The problem centers around some form of emotional pain and the profound sense of disconnection that accompanies that pain. Addiction is a problem of attachment.  So we aim to heal each of our clients’ ability to connect with others and the world in new, healthy ways.  We at Acadia acknowledge the losses and tragedy of addiction. This is a social epidemic that is destroying the lives of millions of people across the nation. Our hearts are with you; we have experienced it personally.  We also have seen what lies beyond addiction, and are able to guide our clients into a new way of living.

Why Choose Acadia?
A Message From Bob Forrest

Joint Commission Accredited

JCAHOAcadia Malibu drug and alcohol treatment center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Behavioral Health Care Accreditation. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care, and is the highest form of accreditation that any treatment center can receive.

The Joint Commission’s behavioral health care standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, quality improvement measurement experts, and individuals and their families. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help organizations measure, assess and improve performance.

Why Our Program Works

Our rehabilitation philosophy is based on providing
non-judgmental, loving support for our clients.

Traditionally, the drug and alcohol treatment industry is based on a ‘compliance’ model, and is often administered with a punitive, coercive spirit. The goal is often nothing more than ‘forced abstinence’. At Acadia, we take an entirely different approach. Our rehabilitation philosophy is based on providing non-judgmental, loving support for our clients. The close-knit, community-based approach that we use aims to empower our clients, and provide them with a sense of comfort and belonging. And we do this in a less restrictive, freer environment. As the author Alfie Kohn shows us, “People will typically be more enthusiastic where they feel a sense of belonging and see themselves as part of a community than they will in a [place] in which each person is left to his own devices.”  Ours is a therapeutic, healing community.

Our philosophy has to be translated into principles. These principles are how we act with our clients on a daily basis. Staff and clients, alike — the entire community of Acadia — are on a healing journey together, and we hold ourselves to the same principles that we teach our clients to exemplify. We call this the ‘Parallel Process’. We believe in ‘connection instead of control’, that we are literally all in this together. It is with this spirit that we inspire and nurture our clients to change their own lives. As the renowned psychotherapist Carl Rogers taught us with his ‘Client Centered Therapy’, “the individual has within himself or herself vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his or her self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behavior — and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.” He called this attitude ‘Unconditional Positive Regard’.

It’s All About The Transition

Because our focus is the treatment of young adults, we have hand picked our staff in order to ensure that they are relatable, and so that they understand the degree of the modern drug epidemic first-hand.  Each of our staff are highly qualified, experienced, and have been there themselves.  Although many are themselves young, they’ve done the work, and lead by example.  In addition to a licensed primary therapist, each of our clients is paired with a certified drug counsellor called a ‘Care Coach,’ who serves as a mentor through the entire treatment process, and for up to one year after that client ‘graduates’ from our program.  This provides our clients with crucial long-term accountability, plus a caring mentor who can see each of them through life’s twists and turns.  While our clients are with us, they meet with their Care Coach twice per week, where there is equal emphasis on both drug counseling and job counseling.  By the second month, if our clients are not working or in school, which they often are, they are volunteering every day.

  • Non-12 Step, Evidence Based
  • Holistic Healing Of Addiction
  • Speciality Tracks For Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • Long-Term, Low-Cost Treatment
  • Residential Detox
  • Innovative Therapeutic Modalities
  • Integrated Transitional Living and Outpatient Treatment
  • Focus on Launching Young Adults


Acadia Malibu Giving Back

Our vision is to provide a bridge from the perils and pain of active addiction, to a new, sober, productive life. We help our clients meet this challenge by supporting them and their families through the difficulties of their first year of recovery.

We provide opportunities to gain awareness, and most importantly, to practice new ‘ways of doing’. We are a doing addiction treatment facility. Because we know that you have to do differently to get differently. For this reason, we provide a great number experiential therapeutic activities. These include life-skills building, and hands-on, real-life, effective guidance in how to create and maintain healthy relationships with self and others.

We are very concerned with outcomes, and are not at all content to simply warehouse our young clients.  Abstinence is good, but it is far from the only measure of success.  We won’t rest until our clients have found their passion and tasted success.

What is Acadia Malibu?

Big Heart Ranch

The mission of Acadia Malibu is to provide unique, high quality drug and alcohol treatment services at every step along the continuum of care.  We know our clientele.  Unlike other programs, which so often act as a kind of vague ‘catch-all,’ we have chosen to focus on young people who suffer from addiction, attachment disorders, and a ‘failure to launch.’  Our program works better than most because it ‘fits’ our clients.

We have decades of combined experience working with those who suffer from addiction, from the initial ‘Crisis Intervention,’ all the way through to aftercare and alumni services. Acadia is licensed and certified by the State of California to provide care for those suffering from dual-diagnoses, and our staff is very experienced in treating co-occurring disorders in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Acadia Malibu stands by our commitment to provide a special and innovative treatment experience, and to tailor an individualized care plan for each of our clients.

Acadia Malibu has created a community-based, long-term rehab treatment model by running inpatient, outpatient, and transitional living facilities under one umbrella. These multiple levels of care give us flexibility, and allows us to create ways of making treatment affordable to most families. We shepherd clients through the treatment process by helping them to integrate themselves into the fabric of our community, and even more importantly, by focusing on what their lives are going to look like post-treatment. Most treatment professionals have admitted that the old 30-day model is not working. The National Institute on Drug Abuse characterizes programs shorter than 90 days “of limited effectiveness.”  Affordable, long-term, community-based care that really works is the future of drug and alcohol treatment … And this is what we are committed to providing each of our clients and their families with.

New House Photo

Upon intake, a team of licensed clinicians and psychiatrists will assess the client, and an individualized treatment plan will be put together for him or her. The goals of such a plan will be clear to all involved, and benchmarks of success will be laid out along the way. As part of our ongoing ‘Care Coaching’ process, during periodic evaluations, efforts will be made to ensure that the original goals are being met for our clients, and new goals will be formulated if necessary.

During the client’s time in treatment, he or she will partake in psycho dynamic and educational groups, one-on-one therapy and counseling, family therapy, and numerous recreational activities. Clients will participate in many of our therapeutic modalities in their individualized care plan. All meals and transportation are included. Clients will also have weekly visits with our Addiction Psychiatrist, as well as an initial health screening by a internal medicine doctor.

New House Photo

Once a client has completed approximately three to four weeks in treatment, and is medically cleared, he or she will move to one of our Transitional Living facilities. This move occurs once the client is fully stable, and has developed a very clear direction in their treatment. Care Coaching and therapy will continue throughout the Transitional Living portion of the recovery process, and all of our clients will continue with our outpatient program. After a few more weeks, as the client gains higher and higher levels of functionality and confidence, she will be graduated to the evening outpatient tract, so that she can work or go to school during the day.  This is when the ‘launch’ occurs, and when they completely transition into their new life, and graduate from the program.  We will remain by the client’s side, providing them with a lifeline, long term accountability and a sense of community that they will be encouraged to return to, to hopefully help the new people, sharing with them their story and give them hope in a better future.

In our combined decades of experience working on the front lines of addiction, we find that one’s chances of recovery increase dramatically when he or she participates in long-term treatment. However, simply not drinking or using is not a measure of success. Particularly with young people, an integral part of recovery is the ability to be self-reliant, and to be able to take pride in creating one’s own life. We call this ‘autonomy,’ and it is the central goal of our program.  Acadia Malibu aims to help our clients use their gifts in a purpose filled life. According to Dr. Mate, the ultimate goal of treatment is, “the reintegration of addict into the larger community, and his restoration of value as a person in his own eyes.”

New House Photo

Acadia Malibu — At the Intersection of Community Development and Addiction Recovery

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.”
― Herman Melville.


“Acadia Malibu is five star all the way! The beautiful environment, the staff, and activities are simply a few of the items giving this home such a quality experience. Truly, it is the integrity of its programming, its structure, and its fidelity to sobriety — to providing a home where individuals can grow and evolve into productive sober adults as they reenter community! Thank you Evan and Jared for your dedication to this important work!”

“If you are reading this testimonial, know that I feel a profound compassion for you. Being the mother of an addict, I know what it feels like to have your heart broken and feel pain you never knew existed. Our daughter went to a highly acclaimed, world renowned rehabilitation center out of state. We were quickly educated on all of the different scenarios that can and or will happen when your ‘loved one’ leaves the structure of rehab. …

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