Originally published in Music Connection.
Alta Centers opened in August 2015 to offer a highly specialized, professional recovery center specifically to meet the unique needs of the entertainment industry, particularly musicians and music industry professionals. As a successful Los Angeles DJ and lifelong music fan, Director of Operations Garrett Braukman knows first-hand about the challenges facing those working on recovering from addiction while still working in the industry.
“I know a lot of awesome sober musicians,” Braukman says. “And a lot of recovery theory says ‘you shouldn’t play shows.’ Alta Centers teaches the opposite—you should get out, and you can maintain your career while working on your sobriety.
Braukman is candid about his own first-hand experience with addiction and spent several years as a recovery counselor before founding Alta Centers. “We are a stand-alone center specific to the industry. There is a lack of understanding about the entertainment field [in the larger recovery programs.]” And while Braukman states that Alta Centers does not base its treatment on traditional 12-step teachings, the program is “12-step informed,” and does not discourage clients from any support group that they find helpful.
The outpatient-only programs are highly flexible, offering an Intensive Outpatient Program that runs three hours each day, as well as individualized daily and evening programs tailored to each individual client. “We have an emphasis on education, and also licensed therapists and case managers, as well as a consulting nutritionist. We encourage our clients, depending on their progress, to go out and have fun.” There are also organized offsite activities and aftercare programs.
“I don’t think I’d be alive without music,” he says. “Once I was in recovery, I found myself enjoying music so much more. I would read lyrics and they made sense to me; they spoke to me.” Braukman hopes to bring this experience to others through Alta Centers. “Musicians are talking about addiction and recovery prevalently now.”
To get the word out, Alta Centers currently utilizes an “organic marketing campaign,” according to Braukman, which includes YouTube videos, word-of-mouth, approaching unions and other grassroots methods, capitalizing on Braukman’s connections in the industry and his exposure on the nightlife scene.
While the NARAS-funded MusicCares Foundation and Musicians Assistance Program (MAP) have provided addiction rehabilitation service to the music industry for many years, Braukman states that Alta Centers is different in that those organizations primarily serve as referral and financial assistance services, and while they are extremely helpful to musicians in need they don’t provide the stand-alone, dedicated programs that Alta Centers does.
“We truly want people to have fun in recovery, and not experience the stereotypical recovery program. We can be the generation that changes recovery—makes it cool. We want to be the punk rock summer camp for recovery!”
Alta Centers currently operates from one facility in Encino, with plans to add additional centers in Southern California. It accepts most major PPO health insurance companies.