5 Ways to Sober Summer Fun

Sober Summer

Under the premise of happiness, addiction ultimately steals joy from everyone it ensnares. Don’t let it keep you from enjoying a fun-filled summer. Whether you’re on a personal journey toward sobriety or have yet to declare war on the substance that holds you captive, summer can be fun entirely free from your Drug of Choice (DOC). Unconvinced? Read on. Continue reading

Substance Abuse & PTSD

PTSD and Substance Abuse
Most people associate the term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” (PTSD) with military service. But the condition can develop following virtually any trauma that is shocking, scary or dangerous – not just in the aftermath of battle. Survivors and witnesses of assault, traffic accidents, natural and manmade disasters, and family trauma often struggle with the condition. Unfortunately, a common side effect is substance abuse. In fact, Time Magazine reports that “50-66 percent of those who suffer from PTSD also battle simultaneous addiction.” Continue reading

Substance Abuse in the LGBTQ Community

Diversity and toleranceDespite ongoing efforts to banish bullying of people who are part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) reports that people who identify with the group face social stigma, discrimination, and other challenges more often than people who are heterosexual. The NIH says this group not only faces a greater risk of harassment and violence but also run an increased risk for various behavioral health issues, including addiction. In fact, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) reports that teenaged lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are two times more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol than their straight peers. Continue reading

Relapse Prevention: After Care Matters

Airplane Crash Sobriety MetaphorSteve Carell’s character reacts with outrage in the 2018 movie, Beautiful Boy, when a substance abuse counselor tells him that relapse is “part of recovery.” He replies: “That’s like saying that crashing is a part of pilot training.” Both characters are right. Relapse is often a part of addiction recovery. But it can wreak as much havoc on the people it touches as an airplane crash. Continue reading

Men’s Health Month & Addiction

Men's Health Month AddictionCelebrated across the country with screenings, fairs, media appearances and outreach activities, June is Men’s Health Month. The purpose of the campaign is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. It also provides a great opportunity to encourage males to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for illness and injury.Men and Health

Since first launching in 1994, the observance has spurred thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe. In our efforts to address one of the most startling and pervasive health problems facing men today, MFI offers an array of services tailored to help men (and women) conquer substance abuse as well as other physical and mental health-related conditions. Continue reading

Sober Vacation

man refuses to drink alcoholMany people consider vacation-planning a welcome escape from the drudgery of a normal routine. But for someone in recovery, the prospect may prove daunting. The old haunts, rife with triggers, are off the table. But recovering alcoholics and drug addicts need a break from the daily grind just as much as their sober friends – maybe even more! So, how do you plan a great holiday getaway now that sobriety is part of the package? Continue reading

Veterans and Substance Abuse

memorial day message with soldier and daughter holding americanAs we wrap up Mental Health Awareness Month and celebrate Memorial Day, we thought it appropriate to devote our final May blog post to a subject that is as prevalent as it is sad – veterans and substance abuse. Studies show Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is tied strongly to substance use problems, particularly when the PTSD is tied to military service. Regardless of the root cause of PTSD, affected persons often try to mask their symptoms by self-medicating. Ironically, people with problems relative to drugs and/or alcohol are more likely than the general population to develop PTSD. Continue reading

Substance Abuse & Suicide

Suicide Overdose Pills Alcohol

In the United States each year, more than 40,000 people die by their own hand. In fact, the 10th most common cause of death in our country is suicide. It is also the third leading cause of death of Americans aged 10-14 and the second leading cause for Americans aged 15-34.Although complicated and tragic, the good news is that suicide is often preventable as long as people pay attention and take action when they notice someone at risk. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to focus this week’s blog post on suicide, because it is so often intertwined with depression and addiction, both of which we see quite often at MFI.  

Teenager Suicide Edge of Building

Substance Abuse & Suicide

Suicide, addiction, and depression form a symbiotic relationship. Experts agree that more than 90% of people who commit suicide do so because they suffer from depression, struggle with a substance abuse disorder, or both. Depressed people often turn to drugs and/or alcohol in a vain attempt to find relief. Unfortunately, their addictions fuel the depression, sending them back to their Drug of Choice (DOC). Feeling hopelessly caught in an endless cycle, addicts often attempt suicide.

Break Substance Abuse Cycle

Who is most at risk?

People Who:

  • Struggle with depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorders are generally more at risk of committing suicide than the general population.
  • Has a serious medical condition 
  • Suffers from chronic pain
  • Previously attempted suicide 
  • Family shares a history of a mental disorder or substance abuse, suicide, physical violence and/or sexual abuse
  • Keeping guns (and ammunition) in the home
  • Were recently released from jail or prison  
  • Exposed to others’ suicidal ideation, such as those of family members, peers, or celebrities

How to Spot the Signs

Does someone you love?

  • Say they want to die or want to kill themselves?
  • Talk about feeling empty, hopeless, or without reason to live?
  • Make plans for a way to kill themselves? This can include searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a weapon.
  • Mention they have a great guilt or shame?
  • Talk about feeling trapped or in despair?
  • Feel unbearable emotional or physical pain?
  • Say they are a burden to others?
  • Use alcohol or drugs more often than previously?
  • Act anxious or agitated?
  • Withdraw from family and friends?
  • Change eating and/or sleeping habits.
  • Show rage or mention their desire to seek revenge?
  • Engage in risky behaviors such as fast driving or drinking while driving?
  • Seem obsessed with death?
  • Display extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy?
  • Give away meaningful possessions?
  • Say goodbye to family and friends?
  • Develop an urgency to draft their last will and testament?
Erase Last Will Suicide

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring someone who expresses suicidal thoughts or actions. These often signal extreme distress, not a meaningless ploy for attention. 


Substance Abuse Recovery MFI

About MFI Recovery Center

Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model, creating a personalized treatment program for each client. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detoxmedication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596. 

Mental Health Awareness

Mental illness has hit epidemic proportions across the world. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that one in four people will suffer from mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. In the United States, mental health professionals report similar numbers. In fact, nearly forty-four million Americans struggle with mental illness each year. The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) released a report last week, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, noting the following relevant statistics: 

Anxiety Mental Health Awareness
  • One in five adults will experience a mental illness. 
  • Ten million adults (1 out of 25) live with a serious mental illness.  
  • One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14.
  • Three-quarters of chronic mental illness onset is by the age of 24. 
  • Some 2.4 million American adults live with schizophrenia.
  • Six million adults live with bipolar disorder. 
  • Sixteen million live with major depression. 
  • Forty-two million live with anxiety disorders. 
  • Approximately 10.2 million adults experience co-occuring mental health and addiction disorders. 
  • Twenty-six percent of homeless people living in shelters live with serious mental illness.
  • Twenty-four percent of state prisoners have a “recent history” of a mental health condition. 
  • Worldwide, depression is the leading cause of disability, worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. 
  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year. 
  • Ninety-percent of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10thleading cause of death in the United States. 
  • Nearly 60 percent of adults with a mental illness did not receive mental health services in the previous year. 
  • Nearly 50 percent of youth aged 8-15 did not receive mental health services in the previous year. 
Addiction and Mental Health

Mental Health & MFI

MFI Recovery Center offers a comprehensive array of alcohol and drug addiction counseling, family addiction counseling, and mental health services for struggling individuals and families.Such care is overseen by a physician, a team of therapists and certified substance abuse counselors, who guide each individual’s treatment. These caring professionals help clients with depression, anxiety, raising children and parenting teenagers.


Anxiety Disorders and Addiction

Since substance abuse often causes complications to close, intimate relationships, effective alcohol and drug addiction counseling programs must include elements designed to help reunite families. MFI professionals leverage the latest models of treatment to help clients overcome difficulties in the following areas:

Depression and Addiction
  • Anxiety and Depression 
    Some children and their parents feel stress after unwanted events occur. MFI professionals helps family members process the experiences as well as associated reactions.   

  • Children of Divorce and Blended Families 
    Most people struggle while transitioning to a new family structure. MFI professionals use the latest research and techniques to help families live their best possible lives.

  • Marriage Counseling 
    Strong marriages include conflict resolution. Counseling can help couples process difficult issues and heal hurt.

  • Parenting and Family Addiction Counseling 
    MFI offers an array of science-based programs to help parents and strengthen families.
Marriage Problems and Addiction

MFI In the Community

Rita Pacheco is the new Program Outreach Manager for MFI. She plans MFI-sponsored events and connects with community organizers to determine which Riverside-area outreaches to attend, so she can talk with community members and explain the many resources that MFI offers. Setting up and manning event booths alongside other MFI staffers, (sometimes including new CEO Melinda Drake), Rita is busier than ever in May. Numerous festivals and events across Riverside County celebrate National Mental Health Month. 

Rita Pacheco, MFI Recovery CEO Melinda Drake and the MFI Team in action.
Rita Pacheco, represents MFI Recovery Center in the community.

“MFI is known in the community for excellent substance abuse and detox programs. But we offer so much more,” she explains. “People often feel embarrassed that they struggle with mental health. But they shouldn’t because they are not alone. And we can help!”

MFI Recovery in the Community

Since assuming the mantle, Rita has coordinated five mental-health-related events in Riverside, Hemet, Perris, Temecula, and Lake Elsinore. Her goal is to be a resource to the community and help minimize hindrances to treatment. 

“The easier we make it for someone to get help, the more likely they are to seek counseling or check into detox. The bottom line is we don’t want anyone to have to wait for treatment. If you need help, we want to provide it.”

Daisy Walk MFI Recovery

At a recent event, Rita spoke with a young man who first approached the MFI booth to get a piece of candy. He started asking questions and eventually shared that his brother uses drugs. I was glad that he asked for a business card because it could be a new start for his family. 

“I related to him because both of my parents were addicts. Addiction separated me from my five siblings. And I struggled with addiction too. I’ve been clean for 12-1/2 years. I am passionate about helping people get the help they need.”

If you would like Rita to man a booth at your event, please contact her at MFI Recovery Center (951) 683-6596.

Let us know if MFI can join you at your event!

MFI Will Participate in the following upcoming May Mental Health Awareness Events 
May 8: RCC Wellness Fair from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
May 9: MSJC Wellness Fair 5 p.m.
May 10: San Bernardino Valley College Dinner
May 11:  Jurupa Valley Community 5K Fun Run 7 a.m.
May 15: May is Mental Health Event in Lake Elsinore
May 17: Moreno Valley school event from 4-7 p.m.
May 17: Banning Marketplace from 4-9 p.m.
May 21: May is Mental Health Event in Temecula
May 22: May is Mental Health Month in Hemet
May 23: May is Mental Health Month in Riverside
May 30: May is Mental Health Month in Perris

About MFI Recovery Center

MFI At The Daisy Walk 2019

Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model, creating a personalized treatment program for each client. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596. 

7 Best Movies about Addiction

Movies about Addiction & Recovery #MFI

Part 1 in a 2-Part Series

From light-hearted escape to heart-pumping popcorn adventure or thrilling romance, everyone loves a great movie. And, over the years, Hollywood has produced thousands which center around addiction. These types of movie make great melancholy narratives because (as anyone who has survived substance abuse knows), drama surrounds addicts. But which substance abuse-themed movies accurately portray addiction? While this list is far from exhaustive, it includes seven of our favorites. That said, we do not endorse the treatments used or behaviors depicted. These are movies, not substance abuse treatment centers, after all. Continue reading

Addiction & Spring Break

Spring Break & AddictionAlcohol and drug abuse wreak havoc on men’s and women’s lives every day of the week. But rarely is the level of temptation as intense as that which is offered during spring break. Each spring, teens and young adults scramble to vacation destinations like Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and Daytona Beach, determined to throw caution to the wind on many fronts – from underage drinking to drug use to sexual promiscuity. The devastating results range from car accidents to overdose and unplanned pregnancies…to name a few. Continue reading

Men & Addiction

a man is desperately sitting at a table with a bottle of alcoholLast week, we discussed the ways addiction impacts the female system. This week, in the interest of equal representation, we want to discuss how substance abuse and alcohol affects men.The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that men are more likely than women to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol. In fact, 11.5% of males over 12 years of age have active substance use disorders, compared to just 6.4% of those deemed the “fairer sex.” It hardly seems fair, does it? Continue reading

Women & Addiction

Women and Addiction Treatment RiversideIf you think you hear more about men using drugs and drinking alcohol to excess than women, you are right. Research shows that women use substances at lower levels than men. However, equally true and yet not widely known, women typically progress from substance use to addiction more quickly than their male counterparts. What’s more, they almost immediately experience associated severe health consequences. These include cancer, heart disease, memory problems and even death. Continue reading


Overdose MFI Riverside
While few deny that drug and alcohol use compromise quality of life for millions of affected Americans, its close companion, Overdose (OD), dramatically claims life itself. In fact, OD is currently the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Opioid addiction drives the epidemic, with more than 47,700 overdose-related deaths associated with prescription opioids and illicit drugs (heroin and illicit fentanyl). Continue reading

How Addiction Changes the Brain

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

by Beth Wright

A memorable 1980’s television commercial by The Partnership for a Drug Free America opens up on a shot of a butter sizzling in a hot frying pain. An announcer said, “This is drugs.” Then, as someone holds an egg, the announcer says, “This is your brain,” before cracking the egg into the pan. The voiceover continues: “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?” Although the foundation that sponsored the ad has since changed its name to The Partnership for Drug Free Kids, their message remains the same: drugs significantly impact the brain. Don’t do drugs. Continue reading

5 Ways Addiction Impacts Relationships

Love and AddictionEven in the absence of addiction, relationships can be difficult. Once you add substance abuse to the mix, all bets are off. Addiction alters brain chemistry. It also changes people in profound ways: how they look at the world; the way they interact with people around them; the value they assign to coworkers, supervisors and careers, and the attention they devote to personal hygiene and financial management.

Most formal discussions about addiction focus on the physical and psychological effects of substance use. But the cumulative effects of drug addiction and alcoholism reach far beyond these issues alone. In fact, addicts find it nearly impossible to juggle social and professional relationships. Social health and a healthy support system strongly relate to personal success, self-esteem, and happiness. So, even if an addict simulates healthy romantic and platonic relationships, the facade will eventually fade.

How to Spot Healthy RelationshipsAddiction and Relationships

Successful relationships use honest, assertive communication built on mutual respect. They are usually fun and rewarding. And they incorporate compromise, trust and understanding. Healthy relationships are free from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, violence, and aggression. And because they are built on a solid foundation, can thrive even when the going gets tough.

Unhealthy Relationship AddictionHow to Spot Unhealthy Relationships
Ultimately, substance abuse undermines healthy relationships. Alcoholics and drug addicts may manage to maintain what appears to be a normal relationship. However, over time, the substance use takes a toll. As a result, most relationships impacted by drugs or alcohol dissolve into the polar opposite of joy and reward. Impacted by the chemical and psychological effects of their substance of choice, addicts often display stubbornness; distrust; physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; violence; and aggression.

Is Your Loved One an Addict?Love & Addiction

If someone is constantly falling-down-drunk, you would probably believe they have an alcohol problem. Similarly, if you see someone who is high, you might think they are addicted to drugs. But what if their addiction subtly changes them over time? Would you be able to recognize the signs so you could point them to help? Does your loved one fit this pattern?

  • Make excuses for bad behavior?
    In many cases, alcoholics or drug addicts point to the demands of their profession or education to justify less than ideal choices. If these choices and their consequences mount, it may be time to point them to help.
    Signs of addiction
  • Hang around friends who struggle with addiction?
    Addicts prefer the company of other addicts. Does your loved one prefer hanging out with other friends and/or family who they say, “are less judgmental” or “understand them?”
  • Drink or do drugs more than they intend?
    While many people can stop after one or two drinks, alcoholics cannot control the amount of alcohol they consume. In fact, most are unaware of the sheer volume they are taking in.
    Addiction & Love
  • Lose interest in hobbies?
    Has your family member or friend stopped participating in activities they once enjoyed? Do they spend all of their free time seeking drugs or drink?
  • Appear sick every morning?
    Substance abusers often slog through early hours each day, bemoaning the fact they aren’t a “morning person.” The problem could be that they are suffering a hangover.

What to do if you love an addict or alcoholic

Drug and alcohol addiction are complex diseases. Changing addictive behavior patterns takes much more than good intentions. Through modern scientific advances, MFI staff understand how drugs and alcohol work in the brain. And we know how to successfully treat addiction. Our outpatient programs focus specifically on teens, women and men. We offer detox and inpatient treatment for men and women, as well as women with children.

About Mt Rubidoux MFI

Our treatment center provides services to people who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. Located in the shadow of Mt. Rubidoux in the City of Riverside, we provide structured and supportive addiction treatment in semi-private, comfortable apartment-style setting. Monitored by professional addiction specialists 24 hours a day, our modern apartments offer a haven for healing during the rehab process. Living and recovering in our Mt. Rubidoux residential treatment facility means becoming healthy again. Our clients receive intensive treatment and learn new, healthy strategies to sustain recovery. To find out more, call today 866-218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at 951-683-6596.

Addiction & Love We Can Help

About MFI Recovery

In addition to the Matrix Model, we rely on proven modalities to provide whole family care.  Our programs are gender and age specific to ensure we meet individual needs. We furnish a comfortable and warm, home-like environment with structured, evidence-based methods of behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapies. Our family systems approach treats the whole family to re-establish trust and mutual respect where it may have been damaged by substance use. For someone who is struggling with substance abuse, recovering alone is almost impossible. Our program helps individuals rebuild the close connections that are essential to successful recovery. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Part of Whole Person Care

Hand of doctors holding many different pillsThousands of rehab and recovery centers across the country offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which often consists of little more than writing and fulfilling prescriptions. In stark contrast, the MAT Therapy that MFI offers is part of whole-person care. Like a warm blanket enveloping alcohol and drug addicts at their time of need, our personalized plans include many scientific-based tools in combination, to help clients persevere during and after treatment. Continue reading


MFI Grafitti

In his bid to inspire cooperation between tribes, the Peacemaker to the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca tribes shared this universal truth:“One arrow can be easily broken. But when five arrows are bound together, they become strong.”

Continue reading

LVN Making an Impact

Leilin Briscoe

Mt Rubidoux MFI LVN Leilin Briscoe

Mt Rubidoux MFI LVN Leilin Briscoe is 4-foot 11-inches of smiles, energy and enthusiasm. Over the past year working at MFI, the powerhouse has earned the nickname, Tiny Wonder. The sole nurse at Mt Rubidoux, she helps clients through detox and recovery, which is often one of the toughest times of their lives. Clients trust her because, even though she has never struggled specifically with addiction, she has survived significant trauma—and lives to tell the tale.

Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions and Addiction

Resolutions and Addiction MFIAccording to Forbes, although 40 percent of Americans set resolutions on January 1, only eight percent actually follow through. When it comes to sobriety, the problem with resolving to overcome addiction at the start of a new year is that failure to follow through can wreak havoc on your confidence – further undermining your ability to get clean. So, instead of setting yourself up for failed resolutions, make 2019 the year you stop making resolutions and start actively seeking help.

Statistics and our staff experiences show that people in rehab are more successful when they rely on others for help.

Addiction Resolutions 2019

Program Coordinator Jerry Paredes, at the Murrieta MFI points out the importance of community, “After program completion, the relapse rate is high for people who return to their old way of life. To prevent that, we work together as a team during and after the program to offer clients the tools they need to maintain their sobriety. In Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs) like Murrieta, we help them begin the next chapter of their lives, so they don’t just go back to the same triggers they faced during their addiction.”

This type of helps is invaluable. After all; if you could pull yourself up by your bootstraps, wouldn’t you have already done it? Recognizing the need for assistance is an important step on the road to recovery. But it isn’t the end of the journey. It’s the start. At MFI, we use science-based programs, such as the Matrix Model, to provide people in recovery with a structure of support.

Addiction Recovery Riverside Treatment CenterMatrix Model

Drawing on several research-based methods, this model blends the best modalities into an extremely strong system of recovery. Our clinicians are specially trained in optimizing The Matrix Model for each individual client, creating a highly personalized treatment program for every participant. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12 step recovery program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Helping clients and families understand addictions, while taking steps to create a lifestyle of recovery, are the key principles which make The Matrix Model successful.

Are you wondering if you or someone you love has a problem with drugs or alcohol? Answer these questions:Alcohol Treatment Program Mt Rubidoux

  1. Are you unable to control the amount, length, or frequency of substance use, or to stop use altogether?
  2. Does substance use interfere with your personal responsibilities, relationships, and other activities?
  3. Do you continue substance use despite physical or mental health problems, or other consequences?
  4. Do you experience cravings for the substance or withdrawal symptoms if the substance use is stopped?

Alcohol Quiz AddictionsDid you answer “yes” to one or more of the above questions?

If so, you could have a problem with substance abuse. If this is the case, we have good news. We offer hope to help interrupt the cycle of abuse. MFI Recovery Center has 10 locations in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, staffed by 200 caring and highly-trained people whose job it is to help you reclaim your life.


Mt Rubidoux offers comfortable detox and addiction recovery quarters.

Former client, Edward S. recommends MFI for anyone who wants to regain control of their life: “MFI is a great facility if you want to turn your life around. I don’t want to see anyone else go through what I did. If you hang around people who are like you after you recover, you’ll end up doing the same thing you did before. MFI helped me to change not just my habits but my surroundings and my friends. MFI helped me move on with my life. I’m happier now. I’m at peace.”

About MFI Recovery 

In addition to the Matrix Model, we rely on proven modalities to provide whole family care.  Our programs are gender and age specific to ensure we meet individual needs. We furnish a comfortable and warm, home-like environment with structured, evidence-based methods of behavior modification and cognitive behavioral therapies. Victory Over Addiction RiversideOur family systems approach treats the whole family to re-establish trust and mutual respect where it may have been damaged by substance use. For someone who is struggling with substance abuse, recovering alone is almost impossible. Our program helps individuals rebuild the close connections that are essential to successful recovery.

To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.

New Executive Director Takes Helm at MFI Recovery Center

MFI Announces New Executive Director Melinda G DrakeMFI Recovery is pleased to announce a new Chief Executive Officer, Melinda Drake, as of December 2018. She assumes the role of head of MFI after the retirement of long-time Director Craig Lambdin, as of December 2018.

This talented treatment professional has spent much of her career in behavioral health at state agencies and nonprofits, on both the business and service side. In those capacities, she has overseen programs and advocated and innovated on behalf of children and families. Dr. Drake has more than 20 years of experience as a social worker clinician, program director, clinical director, executive director and CEO. Not one to sit back and watch, Drake takes advantage of opportunities to improve treatment programs and processes, whether through grant-writing or expanding programs that often serve as models for other organizations. Throughout her career, she has consistently served others with compassion and care.

Melinda G Drake MFI

Incoming MFI Executive Director Melinda G. Drake

About Dr. Drake

  • Melinda studied at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and Limestone College, both in South Carolina, and at the University of the Philippines.
  • A lifelong learner, she earned a master’s degree in social work in 1997, followed by a doctorate in business administration in 2000 and then another master’s degree, this time in computer resources and information management, in 2003.
  • Originally from the Philippines, Melinda arrived in New York when she was 17.
  • Her work experience in the behavioral health field began with the Williamsburg County Department of Social Services and South Carolina Governor’s Office Continuum of Care.
  • While working on the business side of social services, Melinda found it hard to watch foster children moved from one place to another, carrying their belongings in garbage bags. This inspired her to write her first grant, which was successful.
  • That experience motivated her to become a social worker.
  • Melinda also worked with co-occurring psychiatric and developmental disorders at Willowglen Academy in South Carolina, which provides residential, and day treatment services.
  • At Willowglen, she initially acted as a clinician involved with day-to-day interventions, then as a program director for the day treatment, as a clinical director and, finally, as an executive director from 2007 to 2009.
  • She was also the director of outpatient services at The Canyon at Santa Monica from 2013 and became the dual director, overseeing Foundations Los Angeles at Encino and The Canyon at Santa Monica from 2016 to 2017.
  • She was the Executive Director for Insight Health and Wellness, where she developed a truly integrated behavioral health system addressing the chronic nature of addiction and mental health illness.

Welcome to Melinda G Drake MFI Recovery Center“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Drake to MFI Recovery Center,” said Director of Marketing, Renee Mullings. “We look forward to seeing the ways she will help us move forward.”

About MFI Recovery Center

Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Method for each individual client, creating a personalized treatment program. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step recovery program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.


Leaving a Legacy

Craig Lambdin MFIWhen Craig Lambdin accepted the position to lead MFI in 1972, he wasn’t thinking about legacy. He just wanted to help people through the non-profit organization, which was struggling financially and suffered a less-than-stellar reputation in the community. Recruited at a time when facility closure was a very real option, he was eager to get his hands dirty – modeling early a form of servant leadership that has framed his entire career.

“Almost immediately, we started introducing ourselves to the neighbors. We went on ride-alongs with police so we could understand the area. And we organized nightly citizen patrols, which significantly impacted crime,” he recalls. In a manner that masks the level of his personal investment, he uses the term “we” to describe his role. His arrival at Woodcrest, which was the first MFI location, came on the heels of the work he did creating programs for the Youth Service Center of Riverside in the Adolescent Counseling Program now called the Carolyn E. Wylie Center. “The board hoped we would be able to create programs for MFI.”

And create programs he did…but not to check boxes. The programs were born out of the belief that hurting people deserved the best possible care to get back on their feet.

“Early on, we were living month-to-month, trying to stretch a very thin budget to make things happen. I wanted people to have access to the latest advances. To do that, we needed to develop curriculum and train people to be human change-agents. I think, to some degree, over the years, we’ve been able to do just that.”

Craig’s “change-agents” find it hard to say goodbye.

Renee Mullings, Program Coordinator at Mt Rubidoux, for example, says her long-time Director’s legacy is one of humility and compassion. “He’s an extremely down-to-earth guy. And he’s been an amazing supervisor.”

She is grateful he created a culture of trust, always placing client care above everything else and giving his employees room to grow.

Striving to mirror those habits in her own role at MFI, Renee says, “The most important thing he has done is modeled the way to be an effective leader.”

Juli Kukulka, Program Coordinator at La Vista concurs.

Kim Ramirez Craig Lambdin & Juli K

Kim Ramirez, Craig Lambdin & Juli Kukulka

“I’ll never forget how it felt to see a ‘for sale’ sign on the house that had saved my life. I had been a La Vista client in 1996. Later, as Program Manager, I was aware that we were one month away from not even being able to make payroll. Craig and the board walked the perimeter and decided to bail us out. And he has done immeasurably more ever since. I’ve seen him take off his suit and tie and use a chainsaw to pull out hedges. He has literally been covered in cuts and bruises and blood for the work he’s done for us. He is one of my favorite people in the world,” she says, adding,“It isn’t often I can say that.”

Craig Lambdin & Terry Bader
Theresa Bader, Program Coordinator for A Woman’s Place, notes that Craig has never been afraid of hard work, “He won’t ask us to do something he wouldn’t do himself. He climbs on roofs, trims trees and paints buildings. He’ll chip in wherever there is a need.”

Nicholas Bond, Program Coordinator for the Banning and San Bernardino Outpatient Treatment Centers, refers to Craig as “the voice in my head.” And he considers that a plus. His direct clinical supervisor while Nick was in training, Craig often reminded his protégé to have a ‘North Star.’Craig Lambdin & Nick Bond

“Craig became that for me. Even now, when I am faced with an administrative decision, I wonder what he would do,” Nick says, “I am better at my job because of his influence.”

Craig’s habit of making sly, off-the-cuff comments without cracking a smile has earned him the reputation for having a “wicked sense of humor.” MFI staffers agree the personality trait is necessary in a field that can take an emotional toll. When she was new to administration, Renee says she didn’t know what to make of the way her supervisor ran interviews.

Anna Navaro Craig Lambdin Renee Mullings MFI Recovery RiversideThe final question he would pose was, ‘Do you believe in aliens? You know, Extra Terrestrial Beings?’ Unaware of whether he was joking, Renee recalls, “their eyes darted around, searching in vain for the hint of a smile.”

Craig says he will miss working and joking around with his 200+ member staff. But after 33 years on the job, having helped hundreds of thousands of people, he is ready to hang it up to spend time with his wife and their new grandson.

“There is nothing better than having someone enter treatment as one person and then, 30 days later, emerge as someone vastly different – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Being part of that has meant the world to me,” he says.“But I am ready to turn the canvas over with my life.”

About MFI

Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix-Method for each individual client, creating a personalized treatment program. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step recovery program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.

The Many Modalities of Hemet

Acronyms are common in the field of counseling.

Acronyms are popular in the field of counseling and substance abuse. 

Most professionals treat industry-related jargon like a second language. That is definitely the case in the field of counseling, where the names of methodologies, training and certifications come packaged in complex acronyms and four-syllable words. A term most insiders use at MFI (which is an acronym for My Family Incorporated, by the way) is “modality.”

The dictionary defines modality as: “The way or mode in which something exists or is done. You might often see it used with reference to diagnostic modality, which is the way in which a disease or illness is diagnosed by a doctor.”MFI Recovery Hemet Outside

MFI staff, across all 10 facilities, rely on several proven modalities to help clients who struggle with substance abuse and/or mental health issues. At the Hemet Outpatient Facility, for example, Program Coordinator Yarely Torres encourages staff to pursue certification in several modalities such as Seeking Safety (SS), Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT), Matrix Model (MM), Positive Parenting Program (PPP, aka as Triple P), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Living in Balance (LIB)…to name a few.

MFI Hemet Staff“We rely on these modalities because research proves that they work. At intake, we evaluate whether clients need outpatient assistance with substance abuse or mental health issues such as depression, trauma, eating disorders, anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), or personality disorders (and virtually anything else).” Holding up a thick notebook used to for diagnosis, Yarely says, “We use this to help create a customized treatment plan and then we get to work.”

At the Hemet facility, clients see counselors and therapists once or twice a week and attend group sessions. They may also be referred to a psychiatrist, if medication is necessary. Although each client’s case and associated care are unique, modalities are standardized.MFI Logo on Door Hemet

Modality-Program Descriptions

  • Seeking Safety (SS)
    Focused counseling model used to help people attain safety from trauma and/or substance abuse. It can be conducted in any size group and/or individual modality. It is an extremely safe model because it directly addresses both trauma and addiction, without requiring clients to relive the trauma narrative.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
    An eight-phase treatment in which eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during part of each session. After the clinician determines which memory to target, she asks the client to consider different aspects of that event or thought and to use his eyes to track the therapist’s hand as it moves back and forth across the client’s field of vision. As this happens, clients experience internal associations and begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings.

    Siblings Family MDFT

  • Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy (MDFT)
    An integrated, comprehensive, family-centered treatment for youth problems and disorders, often eliminating the need for out-of-home placement. MDFT focuses on key areas of the adolescent’s life and provides an effective and cost-efficient treatment. Addresses a wide range of youth problem behaviors, such as substance abuse, delinquency, antisocial and aggressive behaviors, school and family problems, and emotional difficulties.

  • Matrix Model (MM)
    An effective protocol that has been used to treat thousands of methamphetamine, alcohol, and other substance abusing patients. The Matrix Modelintegrates cognitive behavioral therapy, contingency management, motivational interviewing, 12-step facilitation, family involvement, and other elements to give patients the skills and understanding they need to overcome addiction.

  • Positive Parenting Program (PPP)Parenting Classes
    One of the most effective evidence-based parenting programs in the world, Triple P is backed by 35+ years of ongoing research. It gives parents simple and practical strategies to help build strong, healthy relationships, confidently manage their children’s behavior and prevent problems from developing. Triple P is currently used in more than 25 countries and works across cultures, socio-economic groups and in many different kinds of family structures.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
    Although not commonly known, this helps relieve client depression, especially when combined with prescription medication. CBT is used for a shorter duration than most other types of psychotherapy. But it is just as effective. CBT often helps patients deal with emotions and thoughts they are currently experiencing instead of the emotions and thoughts from their past. The main focus is to change thought patterns, and associated behaviors.

    Living in Balance

  • Living in Balance (LIB)
    Provides clients the space to explore emotional patterns and develop new skills to regain and maintain emotional balance. Also allows for the non-judgmental exploration of behavioral habits and the cultivation of new adaptive ways to respond to create behavioral balance. A supportive therapeutic environment allows for identifying and changing relational patterns that are no longer helpful.

Shortly after leaving the Murrieta Outpatient Treatment Center one year ago, Torres spearheaded the effort to relocate the MFI Hemet Facility from its previous location, known as Valley Wide, to its current digs. She and her team are proud to offer services in Spanish as well as English. They also provide adolescent outpatient care, which was not previously available at the Hemet site. To use one final acronym, Torres and the rest of the MFI family treat every client like a VIP.

About MFI Recovery CenterFamily Addiction Treatment

Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model for each individual client, creating a personalized treatment program. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step recovery program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.

MFI Hemet Outpatient Facility

Hope for the Hurting

Yarely Torres Hemet MFI

Yarely Torres

Yarely Torres has always had a soft spot for adolescents. Prior to starting her career at MFI five years ago, she worked with teens at various locations, including in their homes. She noticed, firsthand, that many substance abuse and mental health issues were rooted in the family dynamic and affected every member. She wondered how she could help them all. The question led her to grad school, where she began an internship at MFI and studied to be a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).

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Addiction Treatment Continuum of Care

MFI Recovery Continuum of CareAccording to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA, the working definition of recovery is: “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. Recovery is built on access to evidence-based clinical treatment and recovery support services for all populations.” Continue reading

Opioids: The Drug Addict Next Door

Opioid Addiction RiversideWhat image crosses your mind when you hear the term “drug addict?” In the not-too-distant past, most people associated the phrase with sketched-out, homeless, toothless, unemployed criminals who lived on the street, desperate to do whatever it took to get their next hit. While that sad image remains true for some, with nearly eight million people meeting the diagnostic criteria for substance abuse disorder in the United States, the more likely description is your son or daughter, boss, employee, parent, brother, sister, next door neighbor or friend. Often highly educated, working in white collar careers and driving luxury cars, these addicts represent the new face of addiction, circa 2018, Opioids.   Continue reading

When the Going Gets Tough

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.John F. Kennedy’s father, Joseph Kennedy, coined a saying that applies to most of the MFI family: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” The phrase certainly works to describe alumnus Edward S., who completed his inpatient treatment at Mt Rubidoux in September 2018.

“I had to go to court for my third DUI,” he recalls, “and the judge told me that outpatient treatment wouldn’t cut it. He said, unless I started an inpatient recovery program, I would have to serve at least 45 days in jail. I knew jail wasn’t the way to go. If I had gone to jail, I would have come out and immediately returned to my addiction.”

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Jerry Paredes: Continuum of Care

Volitile Situations Substance AbuseBombs Away

Substance abuse makes life unpredictable and perilous, much like a live bomb. Counselor Jerry Paredes understands the correlation more intimately than most, as he served in the United States Army as an explosive ordinance disposal technician before starting his career in 2014 at MFI. Currently the Program Coordinator at the center’s sober living facility in Murrieta, Jerry’s job still involves diffusing volatile situations. He says both career paths require patience and trust in the process. Continue reading

MFI Takes Insurance

MFI Takes InsuranceAmber Harley hit rock bottom when she was forced to do time while she was in the throes of addiction. Up until then, she thought she had things under control. She says incarceration woke her up.

“Everything spiraled out of control,” she recalls.“The repercussions of my addiction not only landed me in jail but also impacted my ability to get a job after I was released. I was fed up with the havoc I had made out of my life. And I was ready to change because that wasn’t what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I was desperate to get help.”

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Young Connections

MFI Staff Member Sheila YoungWhether she is counseling a client at one of MFI’s 10 recovery centers or networking in the community, Sheila Young’s goal is to encourage people. A mother of three and grandmother of four, her job as Community Consumer Support Worker (CCSW) enables her to do just that.

“I love representing MFI because I’ve seen, firsthand, how drastically someone’s life can change for the better once they’ve decided they are ready to get serious about sobriety,” Sheila says.

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MFI in the Field: Kari White

The Case Against Cookie Cutter Treatment Programs

Cookie Cutter Recovery TreatmentIf you stay in the same place doing exactly the same thing, you will eventually get bored. This is as true in detox and recovery programs as it is in everyday life. And it’s the rationale behind MFI field trips. Continue reading

Coining Out in Recovery

Coining Out Rehab
“Coining Out” is a common practice in addiction recovery circles. Sobriety coins are tokens recovering addicts earn to celebrate milestones — 24 hours, 30 days, 60 days, etc. In group, members pray, speak or even sing over a coin that is passed around the circle, eventually landing with someone who needs encouragement. When she was nine months pregnant, Clarysa Saldana checked herself into treatment to overcome a meth habit. Shortly after arriving at A Woman’s Place (AWP), she sat through four consecutive “coin out” ceremonies while in active labor, heading directly from group to the hospital, where she gave birth. She later resumed inpatient treatment, which she credits with saving her marriage — maybe even her life. Continue reading

MFI Intake: What Happens After You Call

MFI Intake Phone CallWhen Terri Crawford decided 10 years ago that she was fed up with her addiction and wanted to get clean, she grabbed her cellphone and frantically started calling Inland Empire rehab facilities. Relieved at her daughter’s decision and happy to help, Terri’s mom headed to the adjoining room with her own phone in hand. The two called dozens of detox and addiction treatment centers in search of the perfect place for Terri’s recovery. When Terri talked to an admissions counselor at MFI, she was sold. Continue reading

Detox Treatment Center

Detox Treatment Center RiversideMoviemakers love showing people go through detox. Dramatic scenes from films like Trainspotting, Walk the Line, and 28 Days depict 180-degree narrative arcs that transform characters from hopeless, helpless, out-of-control addicts to conquering overcomers. Art imitating life, these stories mirror some of the experiences clients typically encounter when they seek sobriety. Those who check into the treatment center at Mt Rubidoux in Riverside spend 4-10 days in detox before transitioning to the men’s program at Mt Rubidoux or the women’s, at Raincross. Continue reading

Do 12-Step Programs Work?

12 Step Programs MFI Mt RubidouxAddiction doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a step-by-step process. So is recovery. With this in mind, the staff at MFI help clients every step of the way, from detox, through residential and/or outpatient treatment and even after program completion. And one of the tools they rely on to do this is 12-step philosophies. Continue reading

The Role of Family in an Addict’s Recovery

Impact of Addiction

Like a pinball, addiction violently strikes the addict as well as everyone around him. The disease touches friends, neighbors, coworkers, and, especially, families – impacting them emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. At MFI, we understand and appreciate the myriad ways addiction affects an addict’s family. So, we treat the entire unit rather than the client, alone. Continue reading

Primary Care

Primary CareOne of the reasons addicts hesitate to begin treatment is because they feel that everything has spiraled out of control. The thought of clearing it all up is absolutely overwhelming. At MFI Recovery Center, we understand how daunting rebuilding and repairing can be. So, we help clients not just with detox and recovery but in virtually every area of their lives – including addressing adverse effects their disease has had on their bodies. Continue reading

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance AbuseWouldn’t it be lovely if life fit neatly into organized compartments? In such a scenario, you would never have to face more than one problem at a time. In the real world, however, this is seldom the case. Trouble usually arrives in droves — especially when addiction is at play. After all, drug and alcohol dependency often lead to health issues, altered family dynamics, financial woes and more. Continue reading

Veteran’s Addiction & Recovery

Military AddictionPeople struggle with addiction for myriad reasons – genetic predisposition, boredom, depression, stress, life-altering injury or loss. But experts agree one of the most common catalysts for substance abuse is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) relative to military service. Whether veterans initially use to escape memories of active combat or simply to ease their return to civilian life, addiction is a major concern among the veteran community. Continue reading

Riverside Treatment Center

Mt. Rubidoux, MFI Recovery Center

Riverside, Home Base for MFI Recovery Center

Nine of our ten in-patient and out-patient treatment centers, as well as the MFI Recovery Center administrative offices are in the city of Riverside, California. In the heart of the Inland Empire, Riverside was named for its location beside the Santa Ana River. With a population of approximately 317,000 residents, the city is 60 miles east of Los Angeles, near sea level, at an elevation of 827. Riverside was founded in the early 1870’s and is currently the 59th most populated city in the United States and the 12th most populous in California. Continue reading