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Addiction Treatment: The Benefits Of Group Therapy

Group treatment provides many benefits to those who may be in addiction treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) stated in 2008 that “people who abuse substances often are more likely to remain abstinent and committed to recovery when treatment is provided in groups.” SAMHSA indicates that those in addiction treatment benefit from identification, affiliation, confrontation, support, and gratification which can be provided in the context of group treatment. And it has been found that group counseling is effective at addressing “depression, anxiety, isolation, denial, shame, temporary cognitive impairment, and character pathology.” These factors and the benefits provided by group treatment appear to provide an excellent opportunity to provide effective and efficient treatment to those in addictions treatment.

Intensive Group Psychotherapy at PACE Recovery Center


Group therapy session at PACE

PACE Recovery Center recognizes that Group therapy has been a core aspect of drug and alcohol addiction recovery for several decades, and it has proven to be very effective. Clients that participate in group therapy have a higher rate of accountability regarding their own behaviors. Members of these groups are able to challenge irrational belief systems by sharing similar struggles and solutions. PACE Recovery Center recognizes the importance of our Clients learning to develop relationships that are meaningful to help promote long term-sobriety. Working in group therapy is a great way to experiment with new behaviors. Clients can try new ways of thinking and relating in a safe environment before going out into the real world. Suffering from addiction and behavioral health issues can create a sense of loneliness. Participating in group therapy allows individuals to develop healthy relationships and challenge old self-defeating thoughts and behaviors.

SAMHSA outlines efficacy of professionally lead groups

Professionally lead groups offer those in addiction treatment:

  • Peer support and pressure to abstain from substances of abuse
  • Groups reduce the sense of isolation which is often associated with addiction treatment
  • These groups enable those in treatment to witness the recovery of others

At PACE Recovery Center we understand clients who are able to observe others as they cope with stressful situations are then better able to integrate these observations into their own lives. These groups provide hope, support, and encouragement to the individual in substance abuse treatment.

Additional information available…

If you would like to read more about this topic, we invite you to read Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy, available from The National Center for Biotechnology Information. 

Meet Sean Kelly: PACE Recovery Center Case Manager

At PACE Recovery Center, we believe in empowering our clients to fulfill their own particular dreams. We believe that a Positive Attitudes Change Everything. Our trained staff assists our clients in identifying their own specific goals, and helping them achieve them.

Today we would like to introduce our readers to Sean Kelly, a Case Manager here at PACE.

Sean Kelly, CDC, RRW

Sean began working in the treatment field as an interventionist in 1995. He is a Chemical Dependency Counselor with a specialization in Mental/Co-Occurring Disorders. Over the last 17 years, he has helped hundreds of individuals seek treatment from drugs and alcohol. Sean is a proven expert in coaching individuals who are resistant to change seek long-term recovery. It is his hands-on approach that is most valuable to the Clients at PACE Recovery Center. Sean’s gentle demeanor creates an environment for the Clients to connect with feelings and vulnerabilities that have prevented them from maintaining sobriety. Sean is also a Marine who proudly served our country. It is this background that helps him teach the Men of PACE Recovery Center how to accomplish goals, create discipline, and develop accountability.

Sean’s own personal struggle with addiction allows him to meet the Clients where they are at in their own recovery, and help guide them on their recovery journey. Sean is an active member in the recovery community. His philosophy is to treat people with love, dignity and respect. It’s this mentality that allows him to create an alliance, which allows for the therapeutic process to take place between him and his Client. This relationship empowers the Client to gain the skills necessary to recover from drugs and alcohol.

Sean studied at Centaur University to become a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor.

How Long Should Addiction Treatment Last?

Often we are asked how long a client should undergo treatment in order to address their addiction issues. There is no set answer to this question and at PACE Recovery Center we believe that each individual is unique; but, it has been found that at least 90 days of treatment is required in order to address an addiction issue. Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various speeds and research has shown that good addiction treatment outcomes are contingent on adequate lengths of treatment. It has been found that participation for less than 90 days has limited effectiveness and that treatment lasting longer than 90 days is often required to facilitate the recovery process.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): “Appropriate time in treatment depends on the type and degree of a person’s problems and needs. Research tells us that most addicted people need at least 3 months in treatment to really reduce or stop their drug use and that longer treatment times result in better outcomes” (NIDA, 2012).

It is for this reason that PACE Recovery Center has developed an individualized treatment program that targets the underlying behavioral health issues while providing addiction treatment that will translate into long-term sobriety for each client. Our approach is to incorporate a variety of different proven therapeutic modalities in an individualized treatment plan designed to address both the substance abuse issue and underlying behavioral issues that may leading to substance abuse.

Three Tips To Maintain Your Sobriety During The Holiday Season


The holidays are a time for celebration and joy but for many recovering alcoholics and addicts there can be unforeseen relapse triggers. The following is a list of tips which can help you maintain your sobriety while enjoying the season.

    • Holiday Parties – Take a sober friend with you and always make sure to have your own transportation. This will allow you to have support and provide you with a safe and reliable means of leaving the party if you become uncomfortable. Bring your own non-alcoholic beverage and practice what you will say if an alcoholic drink is offered. Responses such as “I am not drinking tonight” or “I don’t drink anymore” are good things to say that can help to reduce any anxiety you may experience when you are offered a drink.


  • Take Care of You – Make sure to eat regularly and get enough rest. Watch for depression or anxiety and make sure to utilize any support systems you have in place. Attend extra meetings, talk with your sponsor, or speak with your counselor about any issues that arise. Use the program slogan HALT to remember not get to hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.



  • Help Others – Helping others makes us feel good and is an important part of the recovery program. There are many ways to help others during this time of year for instance you could participate in a toy drive, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or attend more meetings.


These tips can help you to identify and avoid relapse triggers and maintain your sobriety during the holiday season.  Wishing you a peaceful and healthy holiday season.


Meet Lisa Lipton, LMFT: PACE Recovery Center Therapist

Lisa Lipton, LMFT

Here at PACE Recovery Center we are very proud of our treatment team.  Today we would like to profile Lisa Lipton, LMFT.

Lisa Lipton is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, with over twelve years of counseling experience helping teenagers, young adults and their families.

Lisa’s undergraduate degree was obtained at California State University Northridge, receiving a B.A. in Psychology. Lisa attended Phillips Graduate Institute in Encino, California, where she graduated with an M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Working for an outpatient non-profit organization for six years provided Lisa with the opportunity to work with a dual diagnosis population, addressing both substance abuse issues and mental health disorders.

Lisa’s experience working at a Therapeutic Boarding School for children and youth ages 10-16 for three years, as a Treatment Coordinator and Therapist, has given her residential placement and milieu knowledge. Co-facilitating Parent Seminars and Family Workshops, to help families have a better understanding of the challenges their children face, were an integral part of the healing and recovery process.

In addition to writing numerous articles, Lisa is presently a part-time adjunct professor at Woodbury University, teaching a course on Marriage & Intimacy.

Being married and the proud mom of a five year old son brings a personal perspective to her work. One of Lisa’s favorite past-time is to hike the beautiful trails of California with her two little Pomeranian dogs Hercules and Samson.

Positive attitude changes everything…

Orange County’s Recovery Community Continues to Grow at an Exponential Rate…

Orange County, California, has one of the most prominent recovery communities in the world, and with over 1500 AA meetings per week, it’s no wonder so many people choose Orange County as their new found safe haven. There are thousands of people with long-term sobriety that are readily available to be mentors and examples to those that are currently struggling with addiction.

Whether it’s because awareness of addiction is ever increasing, or the new age of prescription drugs is bringing kids into treatment at a younger age, the young population of Orange County is also growing. With organizations like AOCYPAA (All Orange County Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous) overcoming the struggles of addiction is becoming more fun and less of a sentence to boredom. For example, AOCYPAA is hosting a Halloween dance party on October 27th of this year. Clients at PACE Recovery Center have access to this vibrant recovery community.

Not only does Orange County have an unparalleled recovery community, this unique location also has every activity imaginable; from surfing and water sports, to skiing and snowboarding less than an hour away. After a stent of economic turmoil, the economy of Orange County is getting better and the job opportunities are immense. Overall, this is one of the most ideal areas in the world to get sober and with the support and camaraderie of a sober community unlike any other, we are confident that anyone will be pleased with their decision to get sober here.

NAMIWalk Orange County 2012 Great Success


PACE participated in the 2012 NAMIWalk Orange County on Oct 6, 2012, 7:30am in Huntington Beach, CA. The walk was a great success! So far this year the NAMIWalk Orange County has raised $121,682, and donations will be accepted until December 1, 2012.

The NAMI walk is one of the largest and most successful fundraisers for mental health awareness in America. NAMI’s main goal is to ensure that people suffering from mental disorders get the help that they need.

The Men of PACE understand that participating in service work is part of a solid recovery program.

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PACE Recovery Center Is On The Fast Track To Becoming A Nationally Recognized Treatment Center

With the Executive Director and founder, Lenny Segal, leading the charge, PACE’s recovery team is determined to make a name for themselves as one of the top drug and alcohol treatment centers in the County…

Only two weeks after the opening of PACE Recovery Center and the house is already full with a waiting list. We are proud to announce that PACE is now expanding! We are preparing to open another facility so we may help more men who are struggling with addiction and behavioral health issues. Orange County has one of the most prominent recovery communities in the United States – so why is Pace doing so well? Segal simply states: “We continue to offer a sound clinical program based on the principles of a 12 Step Program of recovery and brotherhood of men who are facing similar struggles.” It seems that this gender specific dual diagnosis treatment center utilizes the kind of expertise and hands on approach that will continue to make PACE Recovery Center a leader in the treatment community.

Joanna T. Savarese, Ph.D.

As if the grand opening of this new Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center wasn’t exciting enough, PACE’s staff have been anticipating the arrival of the prestigious Dr. Joanna Savarese to the treatment team. “We are honored to have Dr. Savarese join myself [Executive Director, Lenny Segal] and the treatment team. She will be a great asset to our clients and their families.” Dr. Savarese is a well versed and licensed Clinical Psychologist with an extensive training and expertise in the treatment of parenting, addictive disorders, child development, cognitive disorders, and evidence based cognitive rehabilitation techniques. Dr. Savarese is known for her relaxed demeanor and a highly individualized approach to treating her clients.

The wait list continues to grow, the morale and enthusiasm is high, and the future of PACE seems bright. Surely enough, PACE Recovery Center is on the fast track to becoming a nationally recognized treatment center. “I feel fortunate to have the ability to help men to recover from drug and alcohol problems” says Segal. “I’m confident that with the help of my treatment team the success of PACE will continue to flourish.”

PACE Recovery Center ~ Addiction Treatment For Men

Dreams that you dare to dream…

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”  Anatole France

From the Catalina Mountains in the Sonoran Desert…

I would like to tell you about my dream. It is a dream born out of my personal recovery from substance abuse some 14 years ago. Not long after finding the gift of recovery I had the epiphany that I wanted to give others this gift and spend my life working with those struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring issues. I am often reminded of one of my favorite quotes, “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” Sobriety allowed me to not only mend fences with my family and loved ones, but inspired me to continue my education in social work and business, achieving a Masters Degree in both Clinical Social Work and Business Administration. For ten years I was privileged to be part of an amazing clinical team at the nationally respected Cottonwood Tucson Treatment Program. It was serendipitous that I got sober at Cottonwood and would go on to work there as a primary therapist helping those who once walked in my shoes.


Tucson was my home for many years, and it was there that I dared ask the question: “Why shouldn’t my dream of developing a new extended care program for men struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral issues become a reality?” As I’ve told my clients many times, “you’ll never find peace of mind until you follow your heart.” Then, as I thought more about my dream…I knew this dream could only come true by taking one step at a time. 

The dream of PACE Recovery Center was built with collaborative effort…

Most things in life that are substantive and meaningful, like one’s own personal recovery, are a collaborative effort. In collaboration you can find growth and inspiration. And so, I realized that I would have to reach out to many others to set my dream in motion. Here’s a brief history of how the dream of PACE Recovery Center became reality:

  • Sharing my dream with a few close friends was the first step. I received encouragement to set out on my journey.
  • Deciding on an appropriate geographical location would allow me to provide an environment that would enhance recovery and the healthy lifestyle that I had envisioned. I focused on Orange County, California. More specifically the idyllic seaside community of Huntington Beach. Huntington Beach is a picturesque community with a strong recovery fellowship to draw upon. Interestingly, Huntington Beach has a clear view of Santa Catalina Island, so I felt at home. Of equal importance, I was able to find a comfortable, safe home where men would be able to continue their journey of lifelong recovery.
  • Selecting a respected consultant who possesses a proven record in program development for behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment program was vital. Over the years I have had the privileged of knowing and working closely with many addiction professionals, so again I shared my dream and sought counsel of one such addiction professional. Together, he helped me create what I had conceptualized, eventually turning my vision into the reality that would become PACE.
  • Choosing a name for my recovery center was truly born from how I try to live my life every day, which is with a positive attitude. I knew from my own recovery that a Positive Attitude Changes Everything. So the name PACE Recovery Center seemed apropos.
  • Conceptualizing a logo that would be easily recognized and would also make a strong, simple statement. Remember, “Keep it Simple.” I will admit that this process took a bit of time. That said, I am very happy with the logo I chose to symbolize the strength and serenity PACE Recovery Center offers.
  • Inviting our associates and friends to share in our dream of PACE Recovery Center via FACEBOOK, we launched our Facebook page on June 21, 2012.
  • Engaging and developing a treatment team is one of the most important steps. Our staff brings decades of clinical expertise and personal recovery experience. More importantly, they shared in my dream and in the philosophy that would define our program.
  • Licensing PACE Recovery Center was accomplished by working with the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP). The licensing procedure allowed us to better understand what is expected from the State and to modify and finely tune my vision. I am happy to say, that we passed our licensing inspection with absolutely no deficiencies (which is rare in the licensing process) and on August 23, 2012, we received our license from the State of California which I proudly display at PACE and on our website. 
  • Designing an intuitive website for PACE Recovery is an evolving adventure. Website design is a vitally important process. Unlike hard-copy marketing pieces, you can have an idea, modify the website, and then see it live in minutes. We are proud to launch our ever evolving PACE website today and we hope you will visit and take the tour.

So follow my dream, our dream

As we prepare to open PACE Recovery Center on September 17th, we feel it is only fitting that PACE will open during National Recovery Month. We will join with the countless others who celebrate their recovery, along with their families and friends, who honor their daily commitment.  People can and do recover. Dreams can and do come true.

Here’s to dreams…we hope you will stay in touch

As part of our effort to stay in touch and to continue to share our dream, today we are launching our PACE blog. We will use our blog to keep you abreast of news at PACE, news about the disease of addiction, and news about strength, hope and recovery. We hope you will subscribe to our blog; it is easy to do. Just enter your email address in the subscription box on top right margin and remember to verify your subscription when you receive your verification email.

It’s going to be an exciting journey…


Your dreams can come true at PACE