By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Perched on a bluff abovePacific Coast Highway, Passages Malibu Addiction Cure Center looks more like a prefab movie set than a place to kick hard drugs. Near the entrance of the garish $23 million mansion stands a glass-enclosed gym filled with the latest high-tech equipment, on which men and women work out feverishly with the assistance of hands-on trainers. Beside a well-stocked koi pond, two stone-carved lions with gargoyle-like faces guard the marble walkway to the imposing front door, which is framed by a Parthenon-style stone portico and supported by eight 20-foot-high Ionic columns. Marble is everywhere.
Inside the cavernous main hall — there are two other buildings on the 10-acre facility — are yet more columns, a cascading staircase and a gaggle of pretty young guys and gals. These are the personal assistants. Each client at Passages gets his or her own personal assistant, which is kinda cool when you’ve been hammer-heading (combining Ecstasy and Viagra) for months and need a Himalayan goji-berry cocktail brought quickly to your bedside so you don’t miss the next installment of Intervention on your personal 46-inch plasma TV while waiting for your kick meds to kick in. The 29 comfortable beds here are currently filled with patients who pay $67,550 a month for them. Passages, owned and run by Chris Prentiss and his son Pax, is the most expensive, luxurious and controversial residential drug-treatment center in the world.
Also read Going Undercover at Impact House and Rehab or Bust: A Guide to L.A.'s Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers by Mark Groubert
The Prentisses are the Holocaust deniers of the addiction-recovery industry. They deny the existence of addiction. They deny the existence of alcoholism. They deny that it is a disease, or that it is incurable.
“The Prentiss duo,” Anderson explained, “claim a success rate of better than 80 percent and even wrote a book about their unconventional approach. They reject the decades-old 12-step program and proudly defy scientific studies about addiction. Doctors, scientists say addiction is a disease. You say it’s not.”
“I know it’s not,” Pax stated bluntly.
“When you send patients home, what do you say to them?” Anderson asked.
Young and old Prentiss almost in unison: “You’re cured. Totally.”
“You will never use drugs and alcohol again,” Pax added. “Your dependency has been cured. Have a wonderful life.”
Chris Prentiss’ personal assistant, Deena Avery, a woman in her late 40s with a Hale-Bopp glint in her eyes, leads me on a mini-tour. She indicates the “graduation room” to our right and tells me about the Native American talking-stick ceremony that graduates take part in. I’m given a glass of fresh carrot juice, which I sip nervously while watching six kitchen workers busily prepare food at a Spago pace. Suddenly, Prentiss appears behind me, seemingly out of nowhere, and introduces himself. He has bright-white combed-back hair and a permanent tan, and is wearing a dark-suede bomber jacket. He looks like a movie producer. (Then again, everyone his age out here looks like a movie producer.)
“Doctors and scientists are still treating alcoholism as if it is the problem, when it has nothing at all to do with the problem,” Prentiss tells me. “They might as well be studying scratchism for people who have a chronic itch.” Prentiss insists that one of his major goals is to “see the word alcoholism eliminated from the English language.”
Pax Prentiss arrives. At 34, he’s a younger version of his dad: tall, surfer-blond, buffed and tan. With steel-gray shark eyes and the slinky, swaying body language that junkies never seem to lose, he looks at me with a suspicion he tries to hide but can’t. The three of us sit down in his father’s office.
Prentiss immediately tells me the I Ching is “the greatest book ever written,” that “it tells the future with 100 percent accuracy.” He tells me he has written more books on the I Ching than any writer in the world. I wonder if that’s true, seeing as how I am currently surrounded by I Ching books written by an author named Wu Wei —titles like I Ching Wisdomand I Ching Life, I Ching Readings, TheI Ching Workbook, The I Ching: The Book of Answers. Wu Wei, it turns out, is Prentiss’ pen name. It means “no name.” All his books are self-published under his own imprint, Power Press.
Prentiss explains that his cure techniques simply involve intense around-the-clock therapy. When I ask why he charges $67,550 a month for this cure, he says, “These are the finest therapists on the planet, and when you start to hire that kind of people, they cost a lot of money.”
Prentiss then tells me of being interviewed recently by an alcoholic reporter from The Timesof London. He says he quickly determined the reporter’s underlying problem and cured him on the spot. When I point out that he just told me he needed 20 therapists around the clock for nearly 70 grand a month to do what he himself did in just 20 minutes, his voice drops to a more sinister register, his smile disappears and he says, “You’re actually smarter than you think you are.”
Prentiss states that people remortgage their homes max out their credit cards and sell their belongings to afford his program... As an addict, I'm curious how many other addicts haven't already done these things to Get their drugs? And I don't know about anyone else, but I'm pretty sure my family isn't going to do these things got me without a guarantee that it will work and 80% Is an undocumented
Prentiss states that people max out their credit cards and remortgage their homes to be able to afford their program. As an addict, I'm just curious to know how many of us haven't already maxed out our credit cards and sold our property for out drugs? I know that I personally didn't seek help until I had used up all of my resources to get high.. And most addicts and alcoholics don't have families willing to spend another dime on us..and certainly not over 100k on another
Prentiss states that people max out their credit cards and remortgage their homes to be able to afford their program. As an addict, I'm just curious to know how many of us haven't already maxed out our credit cards and sold our property for out drugs? I know that I personally didn't seek help until I had used up all of my resources to get high.. And most addicts and alcoholics don't have families willing to spend another dime on us..and certainly not over 100k on another two months of undocumented treatment
I pay a dime to go here.I am a recovoring alcholic and addict of 24yrs. I will always b an alcoholic and addict. When I stop thinking that. That's when I'll relapse. I can't believe a treatment center is giving people false is no cure
I have recently graduated from Passages Ventura. It is a wonderful treatment center that is really affordable. The treatment team there is awesome . I loved the program and the amount of individualized treatment that I received during my stay. All of the staff are extremely professional and really care about their clients. I know that I am still in the beginning steps of my sobriety, but I now feel that I have a strong foundation to work with. I know that this article is about the Passages in Malibu, but if its anything like the one in Ventura, I would highly recommend either one of these treatment centers.
In his commercial, Pax says "I was an addict for ten years. Now, I'm not." THAT statement alone tells me that he still is. Denial to the hilt!!!
I know several people who have gone through the Passages program throughout the years who have done extremely well. Today they have successful sober lives. The great thing about Passages is that they treat everyone as a unique individual, and know that no two people are alike. They have some of the most extensive one-on-one therapy sessions in the recovery field, to find the root of the addictive behavior. Once they help each person find the reasons as to WHY they are using, then they focus on the healing and the empowerment of strategies to maintain a sober life. I personally think that this is one of the best treatments centers around.
Scary!!! Saying they can cure addiction.What's left for the other 16% for whom this program fails? Suicide? Passages can not cure addiction!! And yes addiction to drugs and alcohol is a disease.Anyone that denies this is lying.If you are suffering from addiction you need not pay $80.000 a month to stop completley.I have been clean and sober for 5 years and when I drank my life was unmanagable.Now I live a happy,productive sober life that I was FREELY given to me in the rooms of that 12 step progam that has saves millions of people from a demoralizing slow death.Don't waste your money with this nonsense.Look for the next meeting in your area and get the help you need starting right now for free!
Wonderful program. Great group of people there. Excellent therapists, and process groups. Great location, food and amenities. This place gets 5 stars in my book.
This program is one of the best in the country. The amount of individual sessions with professional therapists is awesome. This place saves lives.
Passages Malibu is by far one of the best treatment centers in the United States, if not the world. Their program has revolutionized the treatment paradigm. Many other programs are trying to imitate their program, but are playing catch up. If you are looking for the best, Passages is the place to go to for the highest quality treatment.
I would like to say that my time spent at Passages has been some of the most eye opening, and life revealing time spent in self discovery in my life. All through out my life I have been repressing past issues in my life, and just numbing myself with drugs and alcohol. After spending 60 days at Passages, a clarity come to my life, that I have never had. The people at Passages helped me reveal to myself the real reasons to why I was using, and until I addressed those issues I would never be able to get well. Today I am 9 months sober, and loving everyday of it.
Passages is a wonderful holistic treatment program. I have known several people that have gone through the program over the years, and they are all still sober and doing well. With programs like this you get what you put into them. If you are willing to do the work and really believe, than some amazing things can happen. Life can be filled with joy, positivity, and sobriety.
I'm very disappointed to read that Passages seems to be run very differently from it's "reason for being".
While our program is outpatient (in Seattle), caters more to those who's drug of choice is alcohol - although we do see others with prescription drug or marijuana use, we are truly a scientifically and skills based program that does not depend on AA. www.APositiveAlternative.com
I hope all these people with a year of sobriety do well upcoming, and I wish them the best, but a year of sobriety is only a bare start. You could not claim a 'cure' without a long-term study of lifetime sobriety.
On the other hand, AA has many people with long-term sobriety, who live the rest of their lives sober.
They've probably hired some of the people on here to post positive comments. They appear to be very slick marketers.
Go to AA. It's free.
It works if people are willing. Most aren't willing to do what it takes.
If you are an addict/alcoholic, work the steps like your life depends on it, because it does.
One has to be willing to get real, deal with their crap, get honest, and do things they don't want to do.
As of now there is no 'cure,' only abstinence and long-term work on the underlying internal issues.
I wonder how many people will die because they don't seek proper treatment while these dirtbags get rich.In 30 years, you will see plenty of people in 12-step programs who will have been sober the whole time and have lived wonderful, fulfilling lives.
I doubt that you will see any long-term sobriety coming out of this 'treatment center.'
As far as I'm concerned, people who peddle 'snake oil' cures have blood on their hands when they divert people from getting real help.
Addiction is a disease, a medical condition. Get real help or die. Not pretty, but true. Bottom line.
Passages is an awesome life changing holistic program! Please do not let an article dissuade you from checking out one of the very best rehab centers in the world. Give them a call and see for yourself what the program has to offer. I have graduated from Passages a year ago, and I can say that their program is amazing. This article is dated and it appears that the writer had a prefabricated agenda when writing this article.
I hear that Passages Malibu and Ventura accept a particular type of insurance that pays for almost all of the treatment. That sounds like a great deal to me!
I have nothing but respect for the Prentiss'. They took what was a horrible chapter in Pax's life and turned it into a wonderful story of success and redemption. Pax stands as a shining light to those that are in the darkness of addiction that it is possible to achieve sobriety and do amazing things once sobriety has been fully embraced.
The Passages Program is one of the best in the nation. They have some of the best professional therapists in the business giving the most individualized one on one therapy. In addition to a wonderful staff dedicated to finding the underlying conditions of why one is using, the location and views from their location in Malibu is simply stunning. Everything here is absolutely top notch. This is a wonderfully holistic treatment program.
The MARLBOROUGH MAN once made us wish we could smoke and be like him. My suggestion only. Get the massages and gilded ambiance in a high class resort and bring a therapist that wants to help u,not only make u feel good. Opening wounds intended for therapy isnt supposed to feel good. And take whatever u need to close these wounds therapy wise. Buy tickets for u and a therapist in Cancun,Rome etc. Not only will u have a wondwrful getaway to boot...IT WILL PROBABLY COST LESS!!!
Me. Prentiss seems to have written a con-man's brew of fact and fiction. No one is"powerless." The danger or at least cosideration is where we draw this power from. Another tale of Faust. Men are the mortar of flesh and blood. Mr. Prentiss seems to have dedicated himself to the cheap and self-comforting delusion that he has power independently of this"perfect universe" of his. A god upon himself. "The Man Who Would Be King." His arrogance ond/or ignorance does not allow him to see what sobriety is. One only needs to be moderately literate. A sober man,until recent slang simply meant clarity of thought and purity of purpose. With these it is quite difficult for a man(meaning mankind for political correctness"to do anythinf additctively. The 12 steps do not render us powerless. They strongly invite us to give up our power for the power of this"perfect universe."The higher power or "artist"formerly known as God." Mr.Prentiss tap dances around this word with "perfect universe."etc. By his own words it is still a power greater than himself.Beware the healer with a fleet of limousines. The twelve steps promise ONLY ONE THING...IN THE TWELFTH STEP "a spiritual awakening." Not religious,but to give this to others frees us from the bondage of ourselves. I would like to believe that Mr. Prentiss is only misled. But even if I were able to believe it would not make it so. Relapse is not drinking. It is the con artist thinking that separates men from the goodness of this "perfect universe." Published books from a vanity press? Embarrasingly self-absorbed. An active addict with a "spike"in his arm if he had enough money could publish 1000 "Hidden messages of the Dead Sea Scrolls" Im glad his son found it possible to stop putting more drugs into his body. If that is all he sees as recovery or"cure" it saddens me as his father has used his own son as a pawn. Once a man thiks he "knows"something he becomes unteachable. No problem to pass this on to his son for financial gain. Cure from the con artist thinking is never addressed. Whether using or not this cure is but a house of cards. Mr. Prentiss is only embarrasing nimself and hurting his son to place everything on his own power. Wasnt it his son's power that put the drugs in him? When you clean up a horse thief from alcohol and drugswhat do you have? Mr. Prentiss knows as well as any one else with the experience.A "cured"horse thief. Mr. Prentiss,cure,recovery and purity are an inside job, requiring enough humility to give up to any power greater than oneself. Whether that begins with medical help and treatment it is a road that includes the purity of philosophy. The journey of life for all. Not indoctrination in the cloak of philosophy while NEVER forgeting to pass the collection plate to line the Koresh like pockets of Mr. Prentiss. One difference between Mr. Koresh(of Waco infamity)and Mr. Prentiss. Mr. Koresh truly believed in what he was doing however misguided. Mr. Prentiss knowingly is preying on the desperate to line his pockets. I can think of no "sicker"individual...but there is NO treatment program for sociopathy.
Hah! I knew this was schiest.. Pax looks like a guy you throw out of a casino for card counting.. You can tell books by covers sometimes..
As I have said before - I've been dealing with my addictive personality for some 30 years now and have been to countless meetings and met more people in those rooms than I could ever remember. One of the common things among us is a desire to find the easy way out. It's our nature - maybe one of the reasons some of us like drugs and alcohol so much. My insurance policy covers substance abuse and psych counseling so hey - if I have to choose a place to go for a 'cure' why not choose a luxury health spa instead of a crowded room with uncomfortable chairs full of people I'd rather not know outside of that room and lousy coffee served from crusty old pots? The price is the same as far as I'm concerned. But what I can get out of those rooms that I can get nowhere else is a stark, cold reminder of what alcohol and drugs does to people. I see myself in others as they are at or near their 'bottom' - having nothing in their world but pain and being on the brink of losing hope and their will to live. That, and my relationship with my God are the two most powerful things that keep me sober. I don't think a couple of benzos, a massage, a soak in a hot tub followed by some 'compassionate counseling' can compare to that in terms of effectiveness as far as I'm concerned. But I bet is sure does feel better. Some of the best counseling I've ever gotten didn't feel good at all, by the way. It cut to the bone and it hurt like a punch to the solar plexus but it sure woke me up. - and I've never forgotten it.
Great article. I was considering going to passages, until I spoke to a friend who had been there. The place is a joke. A complete joke. It's really sad frankly, that a con man can get away with this. I'm in AA and clean now but, there is no cure.
Passages Malibu and Ventura are some of the very best treatment programs out there. They have a wonderful holistic program that addresses the underlying causes for each individuals addiction. Their one on one treatment is second to none. The great thing is that they also take insurance.
I graduated from the Passages program about a year ago. Today my life is drug and alcohol free and I am currently the happiest I have been in many years. The program at Passages is truly top notch and is one of the best in the country.
So we have to give you $100K before we can be entitled to an opinion? We have to drink the koo-laid first? We have to buy the snake oil before we can call it snake oil? Aw heck - why should we care anyway -the insurance company is paying for it. A month at the spa sure beats rehab any day. I'm sold!
Passages Malibu is simply one of the best addiction treatment centers in United States. Take it from someone who has actually been there and has experienced what they have to offer. Everyone else who has not been there should just shut their mouths and wait to comment on something that they have actually experienced.
@guest so someone like me who went to a rehab that was run by several different counselors who were equals and only cost 10;000 who think working a twelve step program and facing your demons head on.now i have twenty four yrs sober.i should keep my mouth shut because I've never been there,with that kind of thinking hun your on your way to relapse and that's a shame.keep thinking the king will have your back.
These men are idiots. Addiction is a disease. I've been through med school and know that addiction is a disease and how a pious little man can deny peoples proven data showing this when he wouldn't be able to so much as read a medical chart is infuriating. He has no credentials to speak of and for him to deny what is fact is ludicrous in the extreme. As well as the 12 steps do work and a previous comment in this post is correct by him taking out a spiritual power and making himself god, and managing his sons and others is just a synaptic need for power and control. God does not need to be your higher power it can be anything bigger than yourself. But it cannot be yourself. That road leads to failure I would not be shocked in the least to see him relapse I have witnessed 15+ years clean patients relapse and ten years is great but not nearly enough to be preaching something that does not have medical evidence backing it. 1 in 10 Americans roughly are medically defined addicts and 96% of these fall in the under-class of society with not nearly the funds or assets to meet this rehabs cost. If it was to be just helping people why is this man making 15+ million a year and not one person gets in for free anytime. He makes enough to send 500 people a year to his program and still have a more comfortable life than 85% of America. Things like this distract non-addicts from seeing the REAL problem of addiction and convince non-addicts that addiction is not a disease and put off addicts to be just crazies or people with weak will power. Its an absolute tragedy.
I know for a fact that Passages Malibu has helped and saved many peoples lives. Passages Malibu has been and still is the forerunner in alternative addiction recovery. I recommend anyone thinking about treatment centers to do their own research and talk to some real people who have been through the programs or to talk to the actual people at the treatment centers before making a decision based upon a subjective article such as this one.
>I ask Stuart how he feels personally about Prentiss. “He’s a strange, strange man,” he >replies, “and he’s got a wonderful Ponzi scheme going. And he’s got nothing to stop him.> He’s smart enough to see that there’s nothing that could bring him down, and he’s going to > continue doing it.”
Seems to me like Prentiss is powerless over his own greed/pride. Is there a Greed Anon group? Oh yeah - confess Christ and repent. Something tells me hell will freeze over before we see that happen... either that, or Prentiss will be brought to his knees soon, by no other than God.
Ponzi scheme? Having an alternative to an 85 year old method of dealing with human nature is not a 'scheme'. Of course Prentiss sounds strange and different, he is challenging the currently accepted dogma. Anyone that has that level of courage is not the average person and sounds out of the norm. 12 step is out of date. I have 2 family members that go to meetings wasted. One has been a 'success' of 12 step for over 20 years and rarely sober in all of it. I wish we could get both of them to try Passages but they have swallowed the kool-aid of Wilson & Smith.
Passages Malibu and Passages Ventura are some of the best treatment centers in the world. Passages Ventura offers a more affordable treatment program than Malibu due to its location and facilities. It is a shame that this article does not talk about the many many people who have been healed by these programs over the years, and how places such as Passages offers an alternative treatment model to what has been in place for the past decades. AA works for some but not all people, and it is a wonderful thing that people have the opportunity to have choices in their treatment.
I agree with Daccht that this article is totally biased. It sounds as if the article was totally written even before the writer even visited the facility. It would have been nice to have read an objective article written about Passages Malibu and to be able to learn more about the different approach that they have to treating addiction.
I have personally known Chris and Pax Prentiss for many years. I have seen Pax go through the lows of being a completely helpless drug addict to become the man who is leading one of the most pioneering drug and alcohol treatment centers in the world. It has been funny to see that when Passages first started 10 years ago, everyone in the addiction community scoffed at the Passages approach. Now ten years later, there are tons of other treatment centers following and trying to copy what Passages is doing. Although Passages is not for everyone, I can tell you this, that Passages does saves lives. What these two men have accomplished by creating such an amazing alternative treatment center should be praised.
Shame on those who are only critics in life. I much prefer to stand with those who are actually in the arena, the trailblazers who set their own path.
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