A new, effective approach to recovery
High Sobriety: A Path Toward Life and Choice.
High Sobriety provides a spectrum of treatment alternatives for individuals who have been previously unable to stop using alcohol and/or other drugs after attending traditional abstinence-based settings. The sheer number of people that fall into this category is astounding. For example, if you examine statistics from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration), approximately 25% of individuals who undergo abstinence-based treatment, do not relapse. Although any measure of success is encouraging, we at High Sobriety are committed to supporting the remaining 75%, who incidentally, rank in the millions.
Why is Shame a Treatment Tool?
We believe that most traditional programs, base their treatment on a moderately warped 12-Step construct, and subsequently, view and attempt to treat the 75% through an antiquated, clinically misaligned, and nonscientific lens. For example, family members and loved ones of individuals are often told some semblance of the following after an addict or alcoholic relapses during/after a traditional treatment episode:
“They [addict/alcoholic] haven’t hit bottom yet.”
“They [addict/alcoholic] aren’t willing to do the work.”
“They [addict/alcoholic] need long-term treatment.”
We at High Sobriety see these messages to the 75% as not only shame-based and unethical, but dismissive of the reality that there are other pathways towards self-improvement for the addict or alcoholic that don’t include a complete surrender to total abstinence and the 12-Steps. We do, however, understand why this traditional treatment culture exists.
Tradition Vs. Change
Most programs are staffed with “recovering” addicts and alcoholics. Most of these individuals participate (hopefully) in a 12-Step Program, which they believe, is the one path that helped them get clean and sober. Therefore, when a client questions the concept of total abstinence, the staff member will shut it down, citing no real data, except for their own personal experience in 12-Step Meetings.
Herein lies the crux of the problem; Individuals that don’t adhere to the concept of total abstinence, but have improved their lives, do not attend 12-Step Meetings. They are not welcome there, unless of course, they want to stop doing what has worked for them, and adhere to a confusing set of internally known but publicly unsung standards about which types of drugs are acceptable in the 12-Step Program and when they can be used. For example, a benzodiazepine prescribed by a Psychiatrist for the treatment of anxiety is probably reasonable, but cannabis prescribed for Crohn’s Disease or a Sleep Disorder is definitely not!
Although these standards may make sense to most traditional practitioners working in traditional treatment settings, they don’t make a lot of sense when considering the needs of the 75% who don’t understand the concept of abstinence, and more importantly, have probably demonstrated an inherent inability to abide by that philosophy in the past.
An Alternative Approach.
What Alternatives Does High Sobriety Offer?
In the interest of serving the 75%, High Sobriety offers several alternatives to traditional treatment approaches. Yes, if you’re interested, Cannabis-Inclusive Treatment is one of them. But don’t panic, this is not for everyone, and is not available as a modality for those under 25 years of age. Additionally, participants in this specific component of our program must have been unsuccessful at previous attempts to engage in an abstinence-based recovery process, and must be currently using drugs with a known lethal dose, or with side-effects that have the potential to be life-threatening, i.e. alcohol. These are just two of the 10+ prerequisites required for eligibility for Cannabis-Inclusive Treatment.
Our alternatives to traditional treatment approaches are:
Alternatives to Abstinence
Drug Replacement Therapy
MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment)
The Benefits of These Approaches
If you have read this section of the website with an open mind, you can see the benefits of High Sobriety clearly. We have created a program that is designed specifically for those (discarded 75%) who had previously suffered in silent shame after relapse, without a sense of hope, and who had no other options before, but to try and squeeze themselves once again into someone else’s definition of recovery. We have created a program that is empowering, most notably, by adopting the philosophy that, “Where there is life, there is hope,” and with a clinical team who believes the journey towards self-improvement should not be discouraged by attacking a vulnerable individual’s character. In the simplest sense, we have created a program that is a partnership, rather than a demand.
If you think our approach might be able to help you or your loved one call (800) 515-3909. Even if you don’t qualify for the High Sobriety Program, we will help you find a treatment center that will be a good fit for your situation.
Contact High Sobriety
Learn more about how our Cannabis-Inclusive Treatment can work for you!
For generations, the metric of success in recovery has been “was the drug test clean?” Toxicology testing is an important data point but should it be the only one that matters? High Sobriety has a different take on recovery. We believe recovery is a self defined state of being for individuals actively seeking to improve physical, emotional, and mental health. High Sobriety doesn’t believe any of us will ever bat 1000, we are all in a constant state of change and working to reach our better selves. Our goals are broader than the binary question of “was the drug screen clean or dirty”.
To reach our potential, don’t we have to be drug free? Maybe. When you have seen one alcoholic or addict, you have seen just that, one alcoholic or addict. There are no hard and fast answers for any one person, our road maps are all different. What we know empirically is that nobody finds any kind of recovery if they are dead. Recovery isn’t a decision, it’s a process, it isn’t a resolve or promise it’s a commitment, and a game of inches. If the journey starts and continues, there is no way to know the ultimate point of landing.
At High Sobriety, our first and foremost goal is to eliminate the risk of death from drug use. Cocaine, heroin, meth amphetamine, pharmaceuticals, and other street drugs all have a lethal dose. Leading the death toll, killing more than all others combined, is alcohol. Cannabis has no known lethal dose. The simple truth is eliminating drugs with a lethal dose and using a drug with no lethal dose is a massive improvement, life improving, and life saving. For generations we have been told that cannabis is a “gateway” drug, at High Sobriety, we believe it is an exit drug. A medical protocol that can aid the minimization of harm and elimination of use of drugs with a lethal dose. With comprehensive mental health treatment, people can live happier and safer lives by switching from egregious, lethal drugs to safer, cannabis, creating space for strides and improvements in all areas of life.
In concordium mentis e corpus.
High sobriety believes in the interwoven connection between mind and body, our treatment protocol is invested in physiological improvements as a parallel process with emotional and mental health improvements: It all works together.
How we use cannabis.
Our cannabis replacement protocol is in full compliance with law and under medical supervision. Cannabis is used for a variety of medical conditions as both treatment and symptomatic care. Cannabis can aid in the detox process, helping with discomfort, insomnia, and flu-like symptoms associated with the withdrawal process, reducing or eliminating the need for other drugs. After the initial detox, our doctor will provide a comprehensive and collaborative evaluation to determine an individual’s goals for recovery. The determination of how cannabis is used is ultimately made by the doctor, like any other medication.
Post detox, cannabis continues to be an option under medical supervision. When someone has been using for a prolonged period of time, moving into total abstinence within 30 days may not be a realistic undertaking, it may not even be the best strategy. It certainly raises the question: if total abstinence is the best course of action, why are the results so poor?
Meet The Team
The High Sobriety staff is comprised of the industries most experienced addiction specialists, doctors and treatment authorities
Joe founded High Sobriety in 2017 as a response to the minimal choices for people who reject the idea that total abstinence in AA is the only valid path to recovery. Joe has had a long career in helping people find their recovery.
Dr. Scott Bienenfeld is an Addiction Psychiatrist board certified in General and Forensic Psychiatry and certified by both the American Society of Addiction Medicine and The American Board of Addiction Medicine.
Amanda Reiman is an internationally recognized cannabis expert and public health researcher. Dubbed “The Brain” by Elle.com, Dr. Reiman is a leader the field of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs and has presented her research all over the world.
Kari Morin is an Integrative Nutrition and Transformational Coach who works with individual clients and groups both online and in classroom settings. She guides her clients toward the lifestyle choices required to improve mood, energy, healthy weight and decrease inflammation, which is the root cause of so many diseases and illnesses.
Joe Schrank | Program Director
February 1st, 2017 marks twenty years of abstinence from all intoxicating substances for Joe. While that road, rife with challenges, has proven to be the right one for him, he doesn't believe it's the right thing for all people. Joe's clinical training and experience have led him to believe that addiction treatment in its current form is inherently flawed and limited. He founded High Sobriety in 2017 as a response to the minimal choices for people who reject the idea that total abstinence in AA is the only valid path to recovery. Joe has had a long career in helping people find their recovery. As a young man at USC he treated his depression with alcohol and avoidance. Once sober, he returned to academia, studying clinical social work at Iona college and in a masters program at the University of Illinois where his research was focused on college athletes with depression and alcohol abuse. From there, Joe became a residential therapist at Promises in Malibu, California. Returning to NYC, Joe founded the city's first sober living. He worked with the city and a community organization to establish the first recovery program in a NYC high school where he continues to serve as a board member. Baffled by the lack of media coverage with an issue as dire as addiction, Joe founded 'TheFix.com' which continues as the premiere source of news and information about addiction and recovery. Joe continues in media as a frequent contributor in print and television, commenting on issues with addiction and drug policy. Never afraid to spar with controversy, Joe looks forward to expanding the definition of recovery to include harm minimization and medication inclusion. Joe splits time between New York City and Los Angeles. He has two boys who have never seen him drink.
Scott Bienenfeld, M.D. | Chief Medical Advisor
Dr. Scott Bienenfeld is an Addiction Psychiatrist board certified in General and Forensic Psychiatry and certified by both the American Society of Addiction Medicine and The American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Bienenfeld graduated from Dartmouth College in 1992 and earned his M.D. from Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, PA in 1997. He completed a Residency in General Psychiatry at New York University in 2001 followed by a fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine which he completed in 2002. Dr. Bienenfeld is a member of a number of organizations including: The American Psychiatric Association (APA), the American Medical Association (AMA), The American Academy of Psychiatry and The Law (AAPL) The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), The American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) and The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP). He is a past Vice President of the Tri-State chapter of the American Academy of Psychiatry and The Law (Tri-State AAPL) and is currently a member of both the Addiction and Peer Review Committees of The American Academy of Psychiatry and The Law. Dr. Bienenfeld is a Medical Review Officer who is certified by The American Association of Medical Review Officers. Dr. Bienenfeld’s previous positions include: Clinical Director of The Community Orientation and Re-Entry Program (CORP) Unit at Sing-Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, under the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH); consulting psychiatrist to the student counseling center at Pace University in New York and consulting psychiatrist to Premier Healthcare in New York City, a subsidiary of The Young Adult Institute (YAI). Dr. Bienenfeld was the Medical Director of New York Center For Living in New York City – an outpatient program that specializes in the treatment of adolescents and young adults with substance use, and co-occurring psychiatric disorders. He held that position from 2007-2013. Dr. Bienenfeld maintains a private practice on The Upper West Side of Manhattan, and he is a consultant to both The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB). Dr. Bienenfeld specializes in the use of Medical Cannabis to treat both refractory depression as well as co-occurring depression and addiction.
Amanda Reiman, PhD MSW
Amanda Reiman is an internationally recognized cannabis expert and public health researcher. Dubbed “The Brain” by Elle.com, Dr. Reiman is a leader in the field of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol and other drugs and has presented her research all over the world. Also an expert in cannabis policy on the local, national and international level, Dr. Reiman was the first Chairwoman of the Berkeley Medical Cannabis Commission and currently sits on the Oakland Cannabis Regulatory Commission. After receiving her PhD from UC Berkeley, Dr. Reiman was the Director of Research and Patient Services at Berkeley Patients Group, one of the oldest dispensaries in the country, and the Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the Drug Policy Alliance, a national non-profit that was engaged in the drafting and campaigns of legalization initiatives across the country and abroad. Dr. Reiman is currently a lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley and an Affiliate Scientist with the Alcohol Research Group. She also conducts research through Research Triangle International. Her research centers on cannabis as a substitute for opiates and how dispensaries fill the role as health service provider.
Kari Morin is an Integrative Nutrition and Transformational Coach who works with individual clients and groups both online and in classroom settings. She guides her clients toward the lifestyle choices required to improve mood, energy, healthy weight and decrease inflammation, which is the root cause of so many diseases and illnesses. She has a deep understanding of the connection between drug use and poor nutrition and works to help facilitate sustainable change. Kari graduated with a B.S. from Santa Clara University, and M.Ed from Vanderbilt University. Trained and certified in integrative nutrition, mastery level transformational coaching (using Neurolinguistic Pathways), healthy detoxification and core nutrition, Kari works in tandem with healthcare providers who seek more natural and sustainable lifestyle changes for their patients. Kari grew up in Southern California, lived in DC, New Orleans, Nashville and now calls Portland, OR home for nearly two decades, where she lives with her husband, three active boys and dog Ozzi. Kari loves cooking with her boys, dancing, live music, and hiking in the nearby beautiful Columbia Gorge. Kari is at High Sobriety monthly and continues work with clients online with the aid of a HIPPA compliant platform.
What we do.
•Heroin / Morphine •Pain Medications •Suboxone / Methadone •Cocaine/Methamphetamine •Ecstasy/MDMA •Xanax / Valium •Alcohol
•Depression •Anxiety •Bipolar Disorder •ADHD •Post Traumatic Stress •Obsessive Compulsive •Panic Disorder •Schizophrenia
•Detoxification •Inpatient Rehab •Outpatient Rehab •Harm Minimization •Crisis Intervention •Therapy (group & individiual) •Continued Care