Passages Malibu takes a slightly different, though not unusual, approach to drug rehabilitation. They emphasize holistic, natural healing rather than encouraging patients to undergo lots of group therapy and 12-step meetings. In fact, they are a non-12-step facility. They treat both drug and alcohol addictions. With locations in both Malibu and Ventura, California, this company was founded in 2001. The founders are a father, Chris Prentiss, and his son, Pax. Pax himself overcame a drug and alcohol addiction, so the history of these founders adds credit to the motives of their company. Not only do they understand the deep and personal effects of a drug or alcohol addiction; they want to help others overcome addictions in individually effective ways.


Rank Chart
Our Score
30-90 Days
3-4 Months
28 Days

The Good

Passages Malibu has a positive reputation and a great company history. Not only do they have well over a decade of experience in drug rehabilitation; they are also accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). This makes the company more trustworthy. And with a sensitive industry like drug rehabilitation, trust is crucial.

Many of the program features at Passages Malibu are appealing:

  • Individualized healing. As a Passages patient, your treatment plan is catered to you. They offer 30-, 60-, and 90-day programs, but the duration of your rehabilitation takes as long as you need. Throughout the healing process, the staff at Passages Malibu consider your medical history and the drugs you’ve been addicted to. They won’t just cycle you through a predetermined treatment plan.
  • Non-12-step approach. For many individuals, it’s appealing that Passages takes a different approach from 12-step programs. Instead, they emphasize holistic healing. You might spend your time working with a life skills coach or in nature to develop more naturally positive habits. Your time at Passages is spent digging deep to find the underlying cause of your addiction. Instead of shuffling through 12 steps and working with a sponsor, you might prefer a program that doesn’t involve reliance on a higher power. If that’s you, you’ll likely enjoy the alternative that Passages offers.
  • A variety of therapeutic activities. You might be wondering what makes this facility’s treatment plan so “holistic.” For starters, they offer many different activities that involve nature and health and fitness—activities that will help you replace unhealthy, addictive habits with ones that will make you feel healthier and connected to your core. These include yoga, equine therapy, acupuncture, art therapy, psychotherapy, ropes courses, and spiritual counseling (which might be a helpful element for those who still prefer some spiritual element to their rehabilitation). Those are only a few of the activities they offer. As a patient, you can enjoy variety and spend your days focusing on your health rather than being analyzed as a diseased addict.
  • Onsite detox. Detoxification can be a scary and daunting facet of addiction recovery. If you work with Passages Malibu, they will stay with you every step of the way. They will monitor your detoxification process so that you stay safe and comfortable. In addition, they will treat you as an individual and consider your medical history.

Passages Malibu rejects the idea that an addict is stuck being an addict for life. They believe in change. Between this positive philosophy and the many customized aspects of their programs, they present themselves as a trustworthy and effective drug rehab program.

The Bad

However, there are a few potential downsides to working with Passages Malibu. Their locations are, of course, limited to California, so that might be an obvious deal breaker for clients who do not live close to California and would rather not travel for their recovery process. Beyond this, though, the logistics of the programs might deter you:

  • Non-12-step approach. While this serves as a pro for a lot of patients, many other individuals would actually prefer to work with a 12-step program to accomplish their recovery. After all, 12-step meetings have proven helpful for many people, between their work with sponsors, the support they find in recovery meetings, and the effectiveness that they find in reliance on a higher power. For these clients, Passages Malibu wouldn’t be a good company to work with because they won’t emphasize those aspects of recovery.
  • Housing. As a patient at Passages, you will undergo treatment at a residential facility. However, they offer four types of drug rehab programs, and all of them but the top tier (and most expensive one) provide shared rooms only. To enjoy a private room during recovery (which isn’t out of the question by any means), you’d have to pay extra and opt for a more intensive recovery program.
  • Duration. It’s nice that Passages allows patients to choose the length of their stay for rehabilitation. However, this feature might be too flexible and individualized for some clients. For instance, it might be helpful for some addicts to work with a program that has a more rigid schedule with meetings and universal methods that have proven successful with a variety of other patients—simply because this might feel more reliable. For those patients, Passages would feel a little too loose to feel effective.
  • Insurance. All of the pricing options at Passages are based on 30-day treatments, which might be too short for a lot of recovering addicts. In addition, the company acknowledges that most insurance companies will not cover more than 30 days of drug rehabilitation, which would leave longer-term patients with a lot higher of a bill. Passages also doesn’t accept Medicaid or Medicare for insurance, so for clients who need a company that accepts one of those, Passages will not be a cost-effective option.

These features could prove to be a deal breaker for many clients, especially for clients who are more particular about their insurance options, housing accommodations, and preference for the 12-step recovery approach. For these patients, Passages would come across as a limited and possibly expensive alternative.

The Bottom Line

All things considered, Passages Malibu is a great option for a variety of clients. They have impressive accreditation, many years of experience, and a wide variety of activities that are sure to be helpful on the road to recovery.

Clients who would find Passages Malibu most effective would prefer a non-12-step program, a company that emphasizes holistic activities, and an extremely individualized recovery treatment plan.

In contrast, this company would not satisfy customers whose insurance is not accepted by Passages and for clients who prefer a 12-step program or an otherwise more regimented treatment plan.

Whether you choose to recover with Passages Malibu will, of course, depend on your preferences—financially, spiritually, emotionally, and socially. They might not be a great option for 12-step clients or those whose housing logistics don’t line up. But if you do choose Passages as a partner, they have much to offer and will work very hard to cater to your needs and make your treatment safe and comfortable.

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