By Patrick O’Neil, Group Facilitator, CAST Centers
You think Beverly Hills and images of opulent wealth, posh villas, and the Real Housewives probably come to mind. If you’re a certain age you will undoubtedly forever associate Bev Hills as the home to the ‘90’s hit TV show 90210, the Four Seasons Hotel where they filmed Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, and those iconic incredibly tall palm tree lined streets where movie stars and barons of the film industry reside. Of course Beverly Hills is all that, but there’s also another side to it if you’re getting sober.
Nowadays, with the medical community’s understanding that substance abuse is a treatable behavioral and mental health condition, the majority of health insurance providers have gotten on board taking on the responsibility of covering the cost of addiction treatment for those who need help getting sober. Treatment facilities, such as the Beverly Hills adjacent CAST Centers, are Joint Commission Accredited and can accept most forms of insurance. This allows CAST Centers’ clients to engage in treatment without the stress and burden of impending financial issues. Never before has substance abuse treatment been made so readily available and cost effectively affordable.
Outpatient treatment is a great beginning to getting sober. To help maintain and stay in recovery most people find 12 step meetings as an essential element for continued support. Within Beverly Hills’ 5.7 mile radius there are numerous AA meetings, and another hundred 12 Step meetings with various fellowship in the nearby surrounding area. If you attend meetings regularly, get a home group, a commitment, ask a sponsor to work with you, and do the steps, then you will be giving yourself an advantage staying sober.
Free and Low Cost Activities
An integral part of recovery is enjoying life. We didn’t get sober to trudge a boring path. But here you are in Beverly Hills and you’re not rich. However, you’re still in luck as the “Garden Spot of the World” offers up a lot of free and low cost activity opportunities. Like most of Southern California the weather is ideal and the great outdoors is always available, especially for health conscious activities such as walking or jogging the tree shaded pedestrian trail along Beverly Gardens Park. Several yoga studios and sanghas in the area offer free or reasonably priced yoga classes. Saturday and Sundays there’s a “no fare” trolley service between Civic Center and Rodeo Drive (and during the summer season it runs Tuesday through Sunday). If you want to catch up on emails, surf the net, or stream your favorite movies or TV shows, there’s free Wi-Fi access on the grounds of the Beverly Hills Civic Center and of course at almost any of the local coffee shops.
Google “affordable eats in Beverly Hills” and la.eater.com, Yelp, LA Times, LA Weekly, and tripadvisor.com all have extensive listings of great affordable restaurants that defy the concept that Bev Hills is nothing but Urasawa, Spago, and The Penthouse at Mastro’s. The greater Los Angeles area is famous for the French Dip sandwich, but did you know the cheeseburger, Cobb salad, and the hot fudge sundae were all invented here? Within Beverly Hills there are numerous cafes, delis, sushi bars, and bakeries that won’t deplete your funds. Bev Hills’ very own Sprinkles Cupcakes bakery chain has been churning out delectable cupcakes for over 10 years and they even have vending machine for after hours. If you taste runs more toward the organic and health conscious fare then Beverly Hills won’t disappoint either.
At the end of the day it’s not the external pleasures and sights that help keep us sober, it’s acceptance, inner peace, and tranquility. 12 Step meetings and fellowship give us the instructional information to getting and staying sober and the support we need. Physical activities produce the endorphins that help with our mental health. Treatment facilities provide us with all the above and more. Yet the path to inner peace, which can at times seem more elusive, is just as obtainable as everything else that has been described. Meditation is a relaxation technique that assists in restoring health and well being to mind, body and spirit. There is no cost to meditating, but the benefits are priceless. Being of service to others, volunteering, and donating your time and energy to a worthy cause benefits you as well as those around you. Participating in an organized religion, attending church, a synagogue, or a mosque, maybe beneficial to your inner well-being as well.
There are so many resources that are available to help get us sober and stay sober. But our greatest obstacle is ourselves. Don’t let the misconception that you need to be rich to get sober, in Beverly Hills or elsewhere, deter you from seeking help.