The headline of this blog may sound like a contradiction from a circus huckster. Frankly, it is.
But to Pax and Chris Prentiss, the co-founders and owners of Passages Malibu, it makes perfect, lucrative sense. They will tell you that you don’t have a disease. They will also tell you that if you spend a month at their posh facility – for approximately $70,000 – you will be cured forever.
85% success rate. Guaranteed. And although the number representing price has gone up, that mystifying success rate has stayed exactly the same. Now we know a few things in the “World of Prentiss”:
1. Addiction isn’t a disease (despite the American Medical Association’s criteria-based definition).
2. They have the absolute cure for this non-disease and wrote a book about it. (so why cure a non-disease?)
3. Their 85% cure rate is guaranteed and has been at the same rate for quite a long time (it’s amazing the data always produces the same cure rate figures, isn’t it?).
The “World of Prentiss” is filled with promise. And the Prentiss boys know their audience well – the wealthy looking for quick-fix guarantees. A cure for a hefty price is still a cure.
We’ve all seen their television advertisement – it’s a widely run national spot. Camera panning through luscious environs, luxurious pools, overlooking the deep blue Pacific… all voiced over by a nasally voice describing “the cure.”
“This isn’t a 12-Step program. This works. I should know; I was an addict for 10 years and now I’m not.”
That’s Pax Prentiss – son of Chris and co-owner of the luxurious treatment center. Together they founded Passages after trying for several years to get Pax clean and sober – through the ‘outdated’ 12-Step based programs.
They deny each and every tenet of AA and the medical community’s disease concept of addiction. Most of all, the father-son duo love to denigrate and at times, ridicule the thought behind step 1 – that we must admit we are powerless to the disease.
In an interview with LA Weekly author Mark Groubert, Chris asks and answers his own question: “Do you know what the first step is? That you are powerless. How silly. We’re not powerless!”
When the author pointed out that his son Pax was certainly powerless when he was battling addiction for 10 years, he shoots back, “Well, he’s not powerless now!”
It’s pretty transparent that the Prentiss’ are preying on the hopeless and desperate… those who are willing to ignore science, rersearch, and subscribe to this promise of a cure.
After all the Prentiss’, neither of whom have any clinical or medical background (Chris is a real estate tycoon; Pax is the son of a real estate tycoon) can’t tell patients they have the cure for cancer, cystic fibrosis or diabetes. They’d be exposed as frauds.
However, anyone who has been diagnosed with those diseases will tell you it is a struggle to fight them. Even in remission, cancer survivors must always take measures of prevention to combat relapse. Those living with diabetes must constantly monitor blood-sugar levels and administer insulin. Patients living with cystic fibrosis must take their medications religiously, every day.
Anyone living with the aforementioned diseases would never buy a “cure” from a realtor. For there is unequivocally no doubt these folks haven’t chosen to have their disease. What Pax and Chris are proposing in their dismissal of the disease concept, is that alcoholism and addiction is a choice – the very stigma the addiction community has been trying to overcome for over 50 years.
“I will tell you one thing about Chris Prentiss,” explains his former Medical Director Dr. Hamlin Emory, “he is the consummate Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus-barker showman. He is not qualified to speak on addiction”
Being in recovery, whether for addiction, or any other diseases – requires hard work, faith and dedication. It also requires treatment and support. You won’t find your cure for addiction by paying $70,000 a month to buy lies from a huckster and his son.
Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat offers a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.