Back to School

Going back to school as an adult in recovery can be daunting, but this may be an opportune time to reach new goals. Much of the focus in early recovery is spent on learning how to stay clean, but next comes re-evaluating your new sober lifestyle. Here are some tips and inspiration for those thinking about taking the plunge and heading back to school. 

Like recovery, school is a serious commitment. It requires patience, hard work, and perseverance. While there are many benefits to getting your education goals on track, there are a number of challenges to overcome as well. Consider the expenses, the time commitment and the concerns about difficult coursework. On the other hand, pursuing your education is a meaningful activity that can help you to avoid triggers. It can provide a wealth of new opportunities to improve your life both financially and mentally.

Concerns and reservations are not unusual for adults returning to school. The good news is that these barriers are surmountable if you take these tips into consideration:

1. Think through the financing.

Compare the tuition and enrollment fees of different schools and degrees. Don’t forget to factor in miscellaneous expenses like textbooks and transportation. Look at your current spending to see if any funds could be reallocated toward school. There are many high-quality community colleges and online universities that are less expensive to attend. If you’re working, find out if you’re eligible for employer tuition assistance. Check out the list of federal grants and apply for scholarships that target adult students.

2. Balance your time.

Adult students are more likely to have work and family obligations. If you work full-time, the flexibility of an online degree or night school may be a good fit for you. For adults who are also in recovery, it’s important to prioritize your 12-Step meetings. Remember to always maintain a self-care routine, especially as it relates to your recovery.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Your support network is essential when you embark on a new challenge. This can include your partner, friends, parents, coworkers, fellow students, teachers or your sponsor. If you’re struggling with a particular course or finding it too hard to balance it all, be sure to reach out to your support network for help.

As you develop your plan, remember to ask yourself these important questions:

  • Why are you going to school? What degree would you like to have?
  • Would you need a GED or can you apply to college immediately?
  • What are the required standardized tests?
  • How will you pay for the degree?
  • Do you have any credits from a previous institution that you can transfer?
  • Would it be better to be a full-time or part-time student?

The decision to return to school as an adult is one that you won’t make lightly. While there are risks and sacrifices involved, there are also great rewards. New knowledge, new experiences and new opportunities can enrich your life and help you move forward in your recovery journey. As always, the Cedar House community is here to support you along the way.

woman looking at computer screen

If you or someone you love is having difficulty achieving lifelong goals like continued education because of substance use or co-occurring mental health issues, Cedar House is here to help. Call us today at 909-421-7120.

Understanding Addictive Drugs

Everyone is aware of how prolific dangerous drugs are on the streets of California. But do you really know what’s out there and what makes them so dangerous? Understanding addictive drugs that are being distributed in our community is essential. The more we know about these drugs, the more we can work to prevent addiction and overdoses among our friends and family.

addictive drugs

Methamphetamine is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant. The short-term effects of Meth include alertness and euphoria which can cause users to become immediately addicted. Long-term use of Meth can lead to problems such as violent behavior, psychosis, severe dental problems, and paranoia. In 2020, 2.5 million Americans aged 12 or older reported having used methamphetamine in the past year, according to the CDC.

Cocaine is an illegal and highly addictive stimulant made from the leaves of the South American coca plant. It commonly comes in a powder form that is snorted or injected. It can also be smoked or administered to the skin. Street names for Cocaine include blow, bump, coke, and snow. Crack is the more pure and potent form of Cocaine, which typically comes in solid blocks or crystals. It is typically smoked or injected, allowing it to reach the brain more quickly and result in an intense high. In 2020, more than 19,000 people in the United States died from an overdose involving cocaine.

Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive substance that is synthetically derived from the Opium poppy plant. It comes in the form of white or brownish powder, or as a black and sticky substance known as “black tar.” Heroin is most commonly injected though it can also be snorted, smoked, or consumed orally. In 2020, more than 13,000 people died in the United States from an overdose involving heroin. Prescription opioids, which are sometimes prescribed to treat moderate-to-severe pain following surgery or injury, are also highly addictive and often lead to Heroin use. From 1999 to 2020, more than 263,000 people died in the United States from overdoses involving prescription opioids.

Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic man-made opioid.  Illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF) is non-pharmaceutical fentanyl made illegally and sometimes mixed into other drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine or heroin.  In 2020, more than 56,000 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids, including IMF.

Ecstasy is an illicit drug often used by high-schoolers and young adults. It is considered a party or rave drug and is dangerous because it can lower inhibitions. Its psychoactive effects include enhanced sensory perception. Ecstasy is most commonly taken orally in pill form or dissolved in water but can also be snorted or injected.

Hallucinogens, like LSD, PCP, Mushrooms, and Salvia, are all examples of psychoactive or mind-altering drugs. While an addiction to this type of drug is less common than other drugs, use and abuse of these substances can cause dangerous consequences and severe negative side effects.

Inhalants include household items such as spray paints, markers and cleaning supplies which are inhaled through the mouth or nose in order to achieve a high. Inhaling certain types of these substances can lead to heart failure, resulting in death.

Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused addictive substances. The main psychoactive ingredient, THC, causes temporary euphoria followed by drowsiness, slowed reaction time, and increased appetite. Synthetic Marijuana refers to the growing number of manufactured substances that contain a chemical similar to THC. Its effects can be unpredictable and intense.

While the decision to use one of these drugs for the first time is usually voluntary, an unexpected addiction can make the decision to quit much harder. Addiction changes the way a person’s brain operates and, consequently, the way that person behaves.

The good news is that Cedar House is here to help. As long as these deadly drugs are on the streets, people in our community will be susceptible to them. The dedicated staff at Cedar House is committed to empowering those who are suffering with substance use and co-occurring disorders through the challenges of addiction. Support our mission today. Together, we can make a change. We can combat the drug culture and bring about a safer, healthier community.

A Collection of 60 Inspirational Quotes to Guide Your Recovery

Are you ready to get on the path to recovery? Maybe you’ve been sober for years and continue to work on your recovery everyday. Or, you might be suffering and feel unsure about whether you can even start battling your addiction. Wherever you are in your journey, Cedar House is here to support you along the way. Sometimes, simple words of wisdom go a long way in motivating you to pursue a better life. Please use the following collection of inspirational quotes to guide you along whatever part of the path you find yourself on today:

woman looking across field
  1. “If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.” – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  2. “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
  3. “I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute. If I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?’ And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.” – Craig Ferguson
  4. “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  5. “We honor ourselves when we speak out for recovery. We show the world that recovery matters because it brings hope and peace into the lives of individuals and their loved ones.” – Beth Wilson
  6. “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  7. “I think that the power is in the principle. The principle of moving forward, as though you have the confidence to move forward, eventually gives you confidence when you look back and see what you’ve done.” – Robert Downey Jr.
  8. “No matter how dark the night may get, your light will never burn out.” – Jeanette LeBlanc
  9. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  10. “Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking of what we want to become. Sometimes we motivate ourselves by thinking about who we don’t ever want to be again.” – Shane Niemeyer
  11. “One of the hardest things was learning that I was worth recovery.” – Demi Lovato
  12. “Rising from the ashes, I am born again, powerful, exultant, majestic through all the pain.” – Shannon Perry
  13. “Sometimes you’ve just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you.” – Dr. Phil McGraw
  14. “Sobriety was the best gift I ever gave myself.” – Rob Lowe
  15. “Recovery is all about using our power to change our beliefs that are based on faulty data.” – Kevin McCormick
  16. “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Confucius
  17. “Though no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.” – Carl Bard
  18. “Believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
  19. “Amazing how we can light tomorrow with today.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  20. “Don’t let the past steal your present.” – Cherríe L. Morga
  21. “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking.” – Buddhist Proverb
  22. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” – Henry Ford
  23. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali
  24. “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  25. “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” – Joseph Campbell
  26. “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” – Michael Jordan
  27. “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
  28. “I understood, through rehab, things about creating characters. I understood that creating whole people means knowing where we come from, how we can make a mistake and how we overcome things to make ourselves stronger.” – Samuel L. Jackson
  29. “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
  30. “My recovery from drug addiction is the single greatest accomplishment of my life… but it takes work — hard, painful work — but the help is there, in every town and career, drug/drink freed members of society, from every single walk and talk of life to help and guide.” – Jamie Lee Curtis
  31. “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
  32. “Sometimes you can only find Heaven by slowly backing away from Hell.” – Carrie Fisher
  33. “It is 10 years since I used drugs or alcohol and my life has improved immeasurably. I have a job, a house, a cat, good friendships and, generally, a bright outlook… The price of this is constant vigilance because the disease of addiction is not rational.” – Russell Brand
  34. Fall seven times, stand up eight.” – Japanese proverb
  35. “I realized that I only had two choices: I was either going to die or I was going to live, and which one did I want to do? And then I said those words, ‘I’ll get help,’ or, ‘I need help. I’ll get help.’ And my life turned around. Ridiculous for a human being to take 16 years to say, ‘I need help.’” – Sir Elton John
  36. “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
  37. “If it wasn’t for that rehab center, I probably wouldn’t have been here. In terms of recovery, it has been very important for me to be a part of a recovery community, to actively be around my people because they understand me. They get it.” – Macklemore
  38. “All the suffering, stress, and addiction comes from not realizing you already are what you are looking for. “– Jon Kabat-Zinn
  39. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela
  40. “Every experience in your life is being orchestrated to teach you something you need to know to move forward.” – Brian Tracy
  41. “Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” – Bernard Williams
  42. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear.” – Rosa Parks
  43. “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn
  44. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  45. “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean
  46. “I dwell in possibility.” – Emily Dickinson
  47. “Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you.” – Aldous Huxley
  48. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
  49. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
  50. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  51. “As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.” – Katharine Hepburn
  52. “Amazing how we can light tomorrow with today.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  53. “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe
  54. “I went to hell and back, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Then I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in, happy about life and comfortable in my skin.” – Drew Barrymore
  55. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling
  56. “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” – Charlotte Whitton
  57. “You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  58. “Even in the midst of devastation, something within us always points the way to freedom.” – Sharon Salzberg
  59. “Recovery is hard. Regret is harder.” – Brittany Burgunder
  60. “If things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Roger Babson

Signs of Addiction

If you suspect your loved one is suffering with substance use disorder, it’s important to recognize some of the signs of addiction in their behavior. Here are seven potential warning signs to watch for:

1. Avoiding friends and family

If you’ve noticed that your loved one has avoided gatherings with friends and family recently, this could be a warning sign. Try reaching out to make sure everything is okay, especially if you’re noticing a pattern.

2. Getting high or drunk regularly

This one may seem obvious, but it’s easy to try and ignore this type of behavior if it has been a part of their lifestyle for a while. Take note of how frequent their using is so you can address it when the time is right.

3. Talking frequently about using

If it seems like your loved one talks about drinking or using all the time, chances are that’s because it is always on their mind. If they struggle to free their minds of drugs or alcohol, they are likely suffering with addiction and need to find help.

4. Getting caught in lies

Have you caught them lying about how much they are using or drinking? This could be a sign that they are becoming aware of the problem and may even be ready to seek treatment. Confront the lying in an effort to point them in the right direction.

5. Poor work performance

Do you notice a change in their work performance? Whether it’s tasks around the house or a change in behavior in the workplace, these can be warning signs that they are drinking or using too much.

6. Risky behavior

Have you witnessed them making risky decisions while under the influence? This behavior can result in serious harm and should be addressed immediately.

7. Seeming depressed, hopeless or suicidal

If you see that your loved one has become withdrawn and depressed, it is important that you reach out for help. Make sure they know they are not alone and that you are there to help them find a treatment program that can get them on the right track.

Please be aware of these signs of addiction and make the lifesaving call to Cedar House. Our compassionate staff will work with you and your loved one to develop an individualized treatment plan to get him/her on the path to recovery.

Overdose Statistics

Alarming Increases in Overdose Statistics

Do you know someone who’s addicted to drugs? The sad reality is that drug addiction affects at least one in every ten Americans. And overdoses have become all too common.

The nation’s drug overdose epidemic continues to affect every state and now is driven by illicit fentanyl, methamphetamines, and cocaine, often in combination or in adulterated forms. More than 107,000 deaths were reported in the United States between December 2020 and December 2021.

The CDC estimated that more than 10,000 Californians died of drug overdoses during the year-long period that ended April 2021. That’s a record high and nearly 29% increase from the year before. Almost 64% of U.S. overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl. Meth overdoses also skyrocketed 48% in the same period.

In San Bernardino County, deaths related to opioid overdose grew to a total of 288 in 2020. That’s 12.9/100,000 residents.

Consider the types of drugs our clients at Cedar House use prior to treatment. 45% of our residential and withdrawal management clients come to us suffering with alcohol addiction. In our withdrawal management program, 52% need to detox from opioids, and 34% of our residential clients are addicted to methamphetamines.

What can you do to help?

  • Help us raise awareness. With overdose rates increasing this quickly, the need to share this information is urgent for those at risk. Help us break the stigma.
  • Support your loved ones in need of treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please call Cedar House today. We can help.
  • Donate to our mission. Cedar House provides evidence-based treatment to empower those affected by addiction to find wholeness in recovery. Please help us expand our programs to serve more individuals needing lifesaving care.

What Motivates You?

Sometimes one defining moment changes the course of your life. It motivates you to make a change to ensure the trajectory you’re on doesn’t result in a repeat of that moment. For Arlene, this moment was the tragic death of her brother. He overdosed on fentanyl. We hear about it on the news every day — the rate of Fentanyl overdoses is climbing at a staggering pace across the country, in California, in San Bernardino County…, and then it happened in Arlene’s family. This was the final straw. She knew she couldn’t risk her own life anymore. She couldn’t risk another tragedy in her family. And she certainly couldn’t risk her children losing their mother. This tragic overdose was her motivation to stay clean and sober.

Arlene was raised by her grandparents because her own parents suffered with addiction. After her grandmother’s death, 19-year-old Arlene felt a deep loneliness and began making misguided decisions. She starting spending time with cousins and friends who used drugs, which led to her own experimentation with different types of substances. At 21, she gave birth to her son and moved in with other relatives. She said, “I started using again there. I always found another crowd. It got worse and worse.”

By the time her son was two years old, Arlene had gotten involved in a new relationship and moved into what she called a “drug house.” That’s where she said she “got hooked every day.” They were kicked out of that home and moved back in with her cousins.  She entered into a new, abusive relationship that worsened her situation even more. She struggled with the knowledge that her son was witnessing all of this trauma.

Finally, CPS got involved. When a friend she thought she could rely on failed to bring her son to school as promised, the police went looking for them. She said, “I was too scared to face the cops because I knew I had a warrant.” She knew the only way they would leave is if she met them with her son. She said, “They saw I was under the influence. My six-year-old son saw the cops take me away to jail.”

Her son ended up being removed from the home where he was staying with family. As soon as Arlene got out of jail, she went straight to the CPS office. She said, “They told me what I had to do. I tried outpatient, but I just couldn’t stop using (meth).”

She was also in another unhealthy relationship. He had lost his kids, too, and was still using. She got a bed at another residential rehab facility but didn’t have success with intake. Her boyfriend discouraged her from going and encouraged her to use the night before.

She said, “It was more out of fear that I called Cedar House. When I saw my son at CPS, I saw the hurt in his eyes.” She knew the only way to get her son back was to get clean.

Her ex-boyfriend was also working on getting clean and dropped her off at Cedar House. She said, “I was scared at first. When I first got there, it was a scary feeling. I started second guessing myself. I had it in my mind that I wanted to leave.”

Then she had a powerful conversation with her case managers. They shared with her the harsh reality that staying in treatment would be the only way to reunite with her son. She said, “After that, I started to realize that I wasn’t seeing the whole picture.” When she started treatment, her justification was only her desire to get her son back. After that honest conversation, she said, “It finally clicked. You’ve got to make a change for yourself first.”

She started to accept the fact that she was an addict, and she did want to stop using. At that point, she said, “I started listening, doing the packets and opening up.”

Leaving Cedar House was overwhelming for Arlene. Her new friends supported her and showed her how to manage every-day tasks like laundry so she could feel confident with her life skills. She moved into sober living and nervously began her new life. She said, “I had never worked a day in my life. I struggled to find a job.” Despite the anxiety and self-doubt caused by her job hunt, CPS visits, and continuing outpatient treatment, Arlene persevered and began to find comfort in her new life. She found a job at a warehouse packaging food and stayed in her sober living home for 2 years.

She is proud to say that her son is back living with her, and she is now working at Stater Bros in the service deli. They live with her aunt who helps with her son, and Arlene is able to contribute to their household.

She said, “I think the big game changer was learning to put myself first to make a change.” Of course, she wanted a better life for her family, and is now able to provide that. She gives credit to “a lot of things that (my case manager) Virginia taught me. She gave us all a lot of hope that we don’t have to live like that. It’s up to us.”

Arlene’s experience at Cedar House changed her life. She said that her brother’s death motivated her to stay strong in her recovery, and she is incredibly grateful.

How to Support Family in Treatment

When your loved one enters addiction treatment, you’re filled with a unique combination of emotions from relief to uncertainty. In times like these, you can find comfort in knowing you are doing all you can to encourage them. Here are five ways Cedar House’s Clinical Director Kathleen Smith recommends you can support your loved one while he or she begins the recovery journey:

1 – Educate yourself about addiction.

Addiction is a complex disease. If your loved one is struggling with substance use or co-occurring disorders, one of the most important steps you can take is educating yourself about their condition. Visit https://www.samhsa.gov/ and https://www.nimh.nih.gov/ to discover prolific research about a variety of health topics that can help you learn about their diagnosis and try to gain a better understanding of what your loved one may be thinking or feeling. In doing so, you’ll find that instead of being emotionally reactive or judgmental, you can take a more empathetic and thoughtful approach to supporting your loved one as they go through treatment. The more education you have the better you can help them succeed in recovery.

2 – Listen to understand.

The most vital skill for you to hone while your loved one is in treatment is listening. Whether you’ve been through treatment yourself, or have no experience with addiction, this is essential. Every situation is unique. Your loved one may be starting to develop a clearer picture of his/her disease and want to share these developments with you. If that is the case, be sure to listen with the intent to understand what they are going through versus listening to respond or react. This is an important distinction. Even though there may be continued conflict, your best move to begin repairing that relationship is to simply stop and listen.

3 – Attend family group sessions.

Family group sessions are an excellent tool for supporting your loved one and mending relationships. For clients whose relationship is not so volatile, we strongly encourage families to take advantage of this opportunity. The essence of family group is the power of learning together. You’ll uncover not only a better understanding of your loved one’s addiction, but also techniques that will be useful as you move forward together in recovery. In these bi-weekly evening sessions, we cover a variety of topics, including family roles and boundary setting for when clients are ready to return home.

4 – Take care of yourself.

Remember to take care of yourself. Management of your own behavior and boundaries is critical in your loved one’s early stages of recovery. While it’s key to learn that you can’t control how someone else will behave or react, you can take the important step of working on issues you may have to be sure you’re ready to be supportive. If you find that you are not ready, seek out individual counseling of your own while your family is getting counseling in their treatment program. Attending Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, or other mental health support groups can help you to process your own trauma and reaction to addiction. Do not underestimate the importance of self-care.

5 – Commit to consistency.

Addiction is notably inconsistent. To counteract that challenge, prioritize consistent communication with your loved one. Schedule time to talk about how they are progressing. Make a commitment to call a few times a week or every day to check in for 10-15 minutes. This will give you an opportunity to hear about their day and learn more about their recovery, while also giving them another outlet for sharing. Following through with that commitment to practice communication in small doses is an instrumental part of their behavioral change. If possible, try to attend visiting hours when you can. Showing up in person to practice that interpersonal communication will make a significant difference in your relationship going forward.


Your efforts to support your family while they’re in treatment are integral to their success. By learning about addiction, listening to their needs, attending group sessions, practicing self-care, and committing to providing consistent communication, you are giving love and support in a meaningful way as they begin their new life in recovery.

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Weathering the Storm

Pinpointing the initial force that led someone down a destructive path can be impossible. The circumstances surrounding Bryanna’s addiction combined in a whirlwind of chaos that ultimately led to a perfect storm she knew she had to escape.

The events of Bryanna’s childhood contributed to self-destructive behavior at a young age. She was continuously molested as a very small child. As a result, she said, “I didn’t understand the ramifications of my unhealthy behavior. It lessens your sense of self-worth as a female.” In a series of damaging relationships as she looked for acceptance from the opposite sex, her teenage years were fraught with irrational actions and the beginnings of her chemical dependence. She was pregnant at the age of 19 and married at 21, but the young couple split when she found out she was expecting their second child.

Bryanna said, “I was looking for this type of love because I hadn’t learned that you have to love yourself. There will be turmoil and things that will surface in life. That’s why it’s so important to love yourself first.”

She started drinking more and spending more time in bars in her twenties. As a mother, she said, “This erratic behavior was not something my kids should have had to endure.”

What finally sent her overboard was the volatile relationship she had with the man she met four years after her divorce. He was abusive and compulsive in a way that Bryanna regretfully allowed at a time in her life when she frequently self-medicated. Her drinking got progressively worse, and together they began to occasionally use drugs as well. For a time, she was able to maintain a job even though she was often drinking before and during work. She and her then boyfriend would go out and behave irresponsibly; then he would get violent.

When she found out she was pregnant with her youngest son, Bryanna stopped drinking completely. She stayed sober until he was about three months old. That’s when she had to place a restraining order on his father and move on a regular basis to evade him. She said, “He would get extremely possessive.”

Eventually, he crept back into her life, and their drinking habits resumed. Bryanna found herself fighting her demons again. When she’d reflect on the time spent tolerating his abuse and not being present for her sons, she became angry with herself and would self-soothe with alcohol. She got to a point where she was drunk all the time and said, “It was just a big storm. Total destruction.”

After being kicked out of her house, Bryanna attempted rehab at different facilities seven times without much success. When she showed up to pick up her kids one day and was obviously drunk, her oldest son refused to go with her and called the police. With no where else to turn once she was released, she called her brother. He brought her to Cedar House.

Bryanna felt strongly about keeping her youngest son with her during her residential treatment, so together they moved into Maple House (Cedar House’s program for women with children) as soon as she completed withdrawal management. She opted not to tell his father where she was in hopes that she’d find success in her rehabilitation this time. He issued a court order while she was there and gained custody when she didn’t show up. This was the final straw that made her realize she had to complete her treatment and change her life.

She attributes much of her success at Maple House to the other women there with her at the time. She related well with her roommate and some of the other clients who were going through similar situations. She said, “They inspired me. We could talk each other through it. We convinced each other that we needed to give the program the time that it needed and see what tools we might gain.”

At Maple House, Bryanna learned the valuable lesson to “play the tape all the way through” and still weighs out all the possible outcomes before making a decision.

Once she finished the program, she moved into a sober living home with her youngest son and got a job with Sempra shortly after. She had an associates degree and the ability to learn quickly, so getting accustomed to her work in data entry came easily to her. She attended AA meetings regularly and continued to work on her relationship with her sons. She said, “They still love me and want to be in my life. I’m so thankful. Not everyone gets that reconciliation with their children.”

After nine months in sober living, she moved into her own place with all three of her children. Sempra hired her full time, and she has since been promoted to Corporate Account Analyst after assisting with the launch of a new department within SoCalGas. She also started her own business that helps small start-ups analyze and implement technology solutions. Later this year, she will graduate with her Bachelor’s Degree.

One of the most important lessons Bryanna learned on her path to recovery is the value of hope. She believes that we are all put here for a purpose, and it’s essential for people to find hope in their struggles. She said, “Like when steel is shaped from fire, I feel like that’s what I’ve been through. We have to always learn from what we experience to find our purpose.” Thanks to compassionate care and undeniable determination, Bryanna has weathered the storm and come through stronger than ever.

Rise above the storm

Top Workplace

The team at Cedar House is honored and grateful to be recognized as a Top Workplace in the Inland Empire. Our staff is dedicated to treating every client with dignity and respect. They exemplify our core values of excellence, passion, integrity and compassion. Being a part of this team provides employees with a special opportunity to participate fully in the Cedar House mission. This is what our employees had to say about the award:


“Cedar House is a great place to work because everyone is very compassionate with not only the clients but also with one another as coworkers.”


“Cedar House believes in promoting employees from within.  That can only be maintained at a high level if the employees are well trained.  This is the case.  Our leadership will not let us fail.”  


“There are so many positive benefits here. We are all treated with great respect. There is much camaraderie in this work place.”


“Cedar House has always treated its employees and clients like family and displayed sensitivity when their employees are faced with managing life outside of the workplace so that it’s employees can be focused while at work.” 


“For me to work at a Top Workplace is the best feeling since I went through the program, I know firsthand how well the program works. It makes me feel like I am doing my best while at work and in my everyday life.”      


“Cedar House is a great place to work due to our company feeling like a second family. The coworkers are very encouraging and helpful and are willing to go that extra mile to make sure your needs are met.”


“I love working at Cedar House Life Change Center.  It is a wonderful place to work. We are all a team here and work together to help addicts find a new way to live.”

Top Workplaces 2021
Top Workplaces 2021

Finding the Light

“She saw a light in me, and I’m forever grateful to her.”

When Kelli came to Cedar House amid the darkest days of her addiction, she couldn’t see the beautiful light within her. But her caring and compassionate case manager Salena could. In uncovering the rubble of Kelli’s depression and addiction, Salena discovered a spark of light and encouraged her to shine.

Kelli started drinking when she was fourteen years old after her parents divorced. At the age of sixteen, she was raped which triggered her drinking habit to worsen. She said, “I was partying every weekend. I didn’t want to feel, and drinking was my escape from reality.”

She made the decision to enlist in the US Army at the age of 24, but that plan was thwarted when she found out she was pregnant. Her drinking continued, and four months after her first son Micah was born, she found out she was pregnant with her second son Jonah. Kelli was a severely depressed, single mom. She said, “I felt hopeless, and I wanted to die.”

When she told her mother that she didn’t want to live anymore, Kelli was placed on her first 5150. While she was in the hospital, her youngest son’s father went to court, exaggerated her condition and got full custody of their 18-month-old son. After months of fighting with Jonah’s father, she was finally granted 50/50 custody back.

Kelli said, “In 2020, that’s when my drinking career took a turn for the worse. I was constantly arguing with my mom and Jonah’s father and his girlfriend. In September of 2020, I was ready to end my life. I called my sisters to let them know how I was feeling and was placed on my second 5150.”

That’s when she made the decision to enter into rehab. On September 25, 2020, she began residential treatment at Cedar House. She said, “I remember being terrified and scared and sad all at once, especially leaving my boys, but I also knew they didn’t deserve a mother like that.”

Regarding her time at Cedar House, Kelli said, “My case manager Salena was everything I could have hoped for in a situation like that. The staff were wonderful. They really helped me find my voice and myself again. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”

Kelli graduated from Cedar House on November 27, 2021. In January, she gained custody of her younger son, but the battle continued with his abusive father. When the court decided against her when they reconvened in February, Kelli used the tools and techniques she learned at Cedar House to embrace the pain she was feeling. When she returned to court in March, she was able to prove that she had finished rehab and continued going to meetings. She was granted custody again and faithfully documented evidence going forward to ensure that she maintained full custody of Jonah to protect him from harm.

She said, “I truly believe God got me sober for this, to fight for my son and to be his voice. I had to fight for myself so I could fight for him. Just because you get sober doesn’t mean bad things aren’t going to happen to you, but you can have a new way of handling hard situations that I learned from rehab and AA.”

Kelli is now 16 months sober and is studying psychology in school. She is the secretary for her Wednesday night meetings and loves being of service. She said, “I love sharing my story because I want to give people hope.”

She offered this message to people battling addiction: “Don’t ever be afraid to fight for yourself because you never know who you’ll be fighting for. If you’re serious about change, get a sponsor, work those steps, go to a meeting. Today my boys are happy and healthy, and they are my why.”