An Interview with Richard Rogg, Founder of Promises Treatment Centers

Prior to opening Promises Treatment Centers in 1989, Richard Rogg worked in real estate. When he realized that his heart was in the addiction field, he made the switch. “I was very passionate about Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 steps, and I had a vision of providing the best treatment and environment for people recovering from alcoholism and other addictions,” he said.

A friend of Richard’s suggested opening a sober living house for women, and they reached that goal together. They then decided to open a treatment center that was connected with sober living, which became Promises in West Los Angeles. “This was really novel at the time,” Richard explained. “The right people showed up to help out and it just happened in a very organic way.”

As Promises became more popular and its reputation grew, it was clear that Promises needed to expand. “We definitely needed more beds, but I also noticed that some clients wanted something more upscale and luxurious, so I started looking for another facility that could provide more beds as well as a more sophisticated environment.” When Richard found the Malibu location, he decided to keep the West LA location open to provide two different environments for the varying clientele.

“People who needed to be close to home or surrounded by city life could choose the West LA location, and people who wanted to be more removed from society and surrounded by nature could choose Malibu,” he said, noting that although each location provides a different atmosphere, clients receive the same level of expertise, care, and treatment.

When Malibu opened, the treatment program at Promises began to evolve. “In the beginning it was very 12-step oriented, and now there’s a lot of focus on treating the whole person, not just the disease of addiction. Promises is still strongly centered on the 12-step model, but we also offer more holistic treatments like acupuncture, yoga, and equine therapy. We were really the leader in providing these innovative treatments. The Malibu location kind of lent itself to these auxiliary treatments,” Richard said.

In 1999, Richard and his wife, Lisa, established the Promises Foundation, which raises money to support substance abuse prevention and provide behavioral health services to low-income women and their families. “People who live below the poverty line, especially women and children, have a greater disadvantage in overcoming alcoholism or drug addiction. With the Promises Foundation, we wanted to contribute to the community and help those who can’t afford private treatment,” Richard explained.

Four years ago, Richard and his wife decided that they wanted to get more hands-on, so they bought a convent in Culver City and converted it into a women and children’s program called Miriam’s House. “Miriam’s House is a 15-bedroom recovery home for mothers and their children,” Richard said. “The goal of the year-long program is to develop life skills, including parenting and occupational therapy, that will lead women and their children to live healthy, productive, effective lives.”

At Miriam’s House, clients move through a four-phase program with incremental expectations and responsibilities. In order to remain in the program, clients must maintain sobriety, participate in a 12-step recovery program, enroll in parenting classes, and actively strive toward self-sufficiency and employment. Clients can participate in weekly individual goal assessment and case management, yoga and meditation, 12-step meetings, seminars, and childcare.

“At Miriam’s House, we make sure that clients get a lot of support in addition to their recovery from chemical dependency,” Richard said. “We’ve been really successful, as we were able to leverage all of our relationships in the for-profit sector into the non-profit sector.”

In 2008, Elements Behavioral Health, led by addiction psychiatrist Dr. David Sack, acquired Promises Treatment Centers. Dr. Sack was attracted to Promises as the first acquisition for Elements because of the quality of the program and its long history of successful treatment.

“Promises was strongly based on the most enduring principles of recovery. The fact that Promises had this remarkable alumni network told me this was an exceptional alcohol and drug rehab program. We believed it would be the right start to developing a world-class organization devoted to the treatment of addiction and related behavioral health disorders,” Dr. Sack explained.

Richard Rogg has continued to work with Promises as a strategic consultant. Since the February 2008 acquisition, Elements has enhanced the clinical programs at Promises to cement their reputation as the leader in addiction treatment. These programs include specialty tracks for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, sex addiction, and other compulsive disorders, as well as treatment for co-occurring disorders such as anxiety and depression.

“We have built clinical teams at both Malibu and West Los Angeles that rival those of any treatment center in the world. We are committed to continually improving our services so that even the most clinically complicated clients can get the services they need,” said Dr. Sack.

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