Luminance Recovery Center Restoring Hope, Empowering Change

There is a soft moment, in the early early morning, when the curtain of darkness begins to lift – the world spinning over 1,000 miles an hour – and the first glow of dawn appears on the horizon. 

A great many poets and romantics have drawn inspiration from this moment over the years, finding it to be the sign of a glorious new beginning. Percy Bysshe Shelley called it “the mask/ Of darkness fall(ing) from the Earth.” Scientists call it luminance. The moment when an object exists in apparent brightness. When darkness turns to dusk, and dusk falls away before the intensity of light.

In 2015, a bright light appeared on the horizon in South Orange County. The standard-bearer for addiction, trauma, and PTSD recovery, Luminance has taken on the task of providing love and compassionate care to those in recovery – with the intention of transforming each and every life they touch. Starting from the ground floor, the team began with just 6 beds. To date, they’ve grown to 12 detox beds, and 50 residential inpatient treatment beds throughout South Orange County and Malibu. Unlike most recovery programs however, Luminance isn’t just offering tough love, or attacking symptoms without paying attention to the root cause of addiction. Priding itself on the unique commitment to quality care through five core values, the professionals at Luminance are driven by compassion, integrity, collaboration, innovation and excellence.

“Luminance offers 30, 60 and 90 day programs and is a dual diagnosis treatment center meaning we are able to address secondary psychiatric issues that are typically related to or cause the addiction,” says Carla DiCandia, MPA, Director, Clinical Outreach. “We treat alcohol and drug addiction, with an emphasis on underlying trauma identification and treatment. Our clinician to client ratio is 1:7 which means clients see their therapist multiple times per week in addition to their group therapies, exercise programs, and experiential therapy. Experiential therapy is a form of therapy that encourages clients to identify and address hidden or subconscious issues through experiences such as role-playing, guided imagery, the use of props, and a range of other activities.”

Status quo is not an acceptable level of operation at Luminance. So what is the status quo for addiction in America? How dark is true dark? 40 million Americans, according to a Columbia University study, “meet the clinical criteria for addiction involving nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs.” Over 38,000 people overdosed, and died, in the U.S. in 2010: greater, the U.S. News reports, “than the deaths attributed to motor vehicle accidents, homicides and suicides.” Family dysfunction, financial struggle, legal problems, domestic violence, child abuse, unplanned pregnancies and car accidents are often simple and tragic side effects of the problem of addiction. The impossibly unfortunate consequence of addiction however, is most often manifested in neglect. Only one in ten people report receiving treatment for alcohol and/or drug addiction. Set that down next to a full seventy percent of patients with high blood pressure or even diabetes who receive treatment.
A consistently superior set of results for those in recovery, their families, and the team at the center is top priority, and non-negotiable. Be it as simple as improving the daily menu with the Chef, or better managing medications, Luminance is removing the veil of dusky complacency and replacing it with transformative care. Trauma-focused treatment modalities at Luminance include evidence-based therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, along with EMDR- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

“Eye Movement Desensitiztion and Reprocessing (EDMR) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences,” says DiCandia. “Many individuals struggling with addiction have suffered significantly traumatic events in their early lifetimes. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can, in fact, heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes and overcome some of the contributors to their addiction disorder.”

Waking up at Luminance seems more like emerging into a corporate retreat, but the structure is designed to provide tools for a lifetime of recovery.

Essential to such a full recovery is the settling of an enormous question within oneself: the question of guilt. With guilt comes shame, and the team is working to help its clients find forgiveness: be it faith-based or simply through better discharge planning. Finding that recovery success rates are directly correlated to societal change shouldn’t come as a surprise to any – and yet just now is the addiction treatment industry embracing the use of technology and connection to build a community of prevention and protection. With an app called Trigger, clients can remain attached to the Luminance relapse prevention program even after they leave, through geo-fencing targeted locations where the client may visit that were once part of their active addiction. The app triggers a response from a peer or their therapist, and the process of improvement moves on.

Luminance believes that together is better. Be it demonstrating the benefits of serving others through community events, like distributing food at the Second Harvest Food Bank, or collaborating with local elementary schools to promote reading materials to first graders, clients are meeting change hand in hand with those around them.

Waking up at Luminance seems more like emerging into a corporate retreat, but the structure is designed to provide tools for a lifetime of recovery. Each day begins with breakfast, a morning meditation and beach walk. Morning sessions of group therapy give way to afternoon activity time- quintessentially Californian- surf or equine therapy. Dinner follows, and then individual quiet time, if desired. Once you’re discharged, a planner will help you design a post-treatment plan: personalized for your specific needs. Be it placement in an outpatient program or an extended residential stay, the Recovery Center has your best future in mind. So why not wake up into a bright new day with Luminance. It might be easier than you think.

To connect with Carla DiCandia, MPA, Director, Clinical Outreach, please call (949) 482-9713 or visit