Marvin Kimble: I’m Marvin.
David Longridge: I’m Dave.
Marvin Kimble: This is the Balboa Horizons podcast. Today, we’re sitting here with the owner and founder of Balboa Horizons, Dave Longridge. Dave, I have a few questions to ask. But first, I heard you’re an accomplished musician.
David Longridge: I don’t know about accomplished. But I definitely been playing off and on since I was 11. Here I am a number of years past that, and I have a good time all the time. I actually play with my six-year-old and my seven-year-old right now. They’re learning, I play along with them. They always get me in there to start, turn on the amplifiers and the drums and everything. So, that’s the extent of my playing today, but I love it.
Marvin Kimble: That’s so cool. So, what kind of music do you guys play?
David Longridge: They like to play stuff that’s loud and fast. So, if I try to plany anything slow or more a jazzy, they want more rock and roll, they say.
Marvin Kimble: Got you.
David Longridge: “We want to play rock and roll.”!
Marvin Kimble: Nothing’s wrong with little rock and roll.
David Longridge: No, no.
Marvin Kimble: In speaking about Balboa Horizons, how did the idea of Balboa Horizons come about?
David Longridge: It’s been a while now. Balboa Horizons’ been around for 14 years, May of this year. My story in a nutshell is that I quit drinking, and my life got better. Unfortunately, 21, 22 years ago, I had an employer that I was starting to have some issues with showing up to work on time, or at all. They didn’t like it that much. But when I was there, I was a really good employee, really helpful to my co-workers and the company as a whole. But there were times when I would go and have a few drinks or partying, as we called it. It would get away from me. It just progressed and one thing led to another and I end up place where I was really humiliated in my behavior and my employer, I went in and told them, I was just going to clean out my desk and resign, because I felt like I was embarrassing the company.
David Longridge: They told me, you know, No, no, no. We think you’re a really good guy. We would like if you … We want to keep you on insurance. If you’ll go and get help, we would love to have you back if you can get a grip on whatever your problem is.” I went to the doctor, the doctor sent me to an outpatient treatment program. And, here I am 21 years plus later without drinking and doing other things that I would get myself involved in.
David Longridge: Probably eight years into it, into sobriety, I was approached by a group of people that wanted to start a gender specific program in Newport Beach, Orange County, California, for gender specific or women only, because nobody at the time was doing gender specific. They felt that it’s such an important piece of the puzzle to keep men and women separated in the beginning when they stopped doing … When they have a substance abuse problem, they stopped drinking, they stopped doing drugs, to keep them separated from men or women because that can lead to a whole another addiction. I thought, “You know what, it saved my life? How can I help?” I contributed and became a limited partner.
David Longridge: I gave some money to help get that Balboa Horizons started. I bought a triplex in the Balboa peninsula. And then about a year later, I kind of went in and said, “Hey, man, how’s that thing going?” I could see that they had all the right ideas, but they just needed to straighten it out a little bit, put a little bit of organization into it. Because I quit drinking, and my life got better and I was eight years and nine years into sobriety, I had progressed in my position in our company. We were part of a Fortune 500 company, so I had a lot of training with HR and business organization and asset management, and so forth. So, they asked me to become a general partner, and I did and kind of managed a lot of the day-to-day operation ever since. Here we are 14 years later.
Marvin Kimble: Wow.
David Longridge: That’s a long explanation for a short question you asked probably.
Marvin Kimble: You came from a background where you couldn’t show up to work, and now you own your own business, and you’re getting to help people on a daily basis. There are so many treatment centers in Orange County, what makes Balboa unique in a sense? What separates Balboa Horizons from everyone else?
David Longridge: I would say that, the buildings, and we have really nice buildings. Our facilities are the nicest. We’re a residential treatment, and we have an administration building and Costa Mesa. We have residential facilities in Newport Beach, and Costa Mesa. Our facilities are the nicest facilities on the block. They’re very comfortable, the best looking, well maintained buildings in the neighborhoods that we’re in. We’re really good neighbors. We don’t have any complaints or issues with the city of Costa Mesa or Newport Beach in the past 14 years. We’ve been squeaky clean.
Marvin Kimble: That’s huge.
David Longridge: Yeah. That’s what it’s all about. Being a good neighbor. I think that as nice as our buildings are, the thing that really separates us from the rest of the treatment providers are our people. The buildings are the buildings, the people at the company, and the people in our company are exceptional. We go the extra mile with these families, we’re very clinically driven, and we’ve put a lot of focus on the family. Because when you have somebody that’s suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, trauma, the whole family gets affected. The thing that I think really separates us from the rest of the pack is our conscious effort to involve the family and heal the whole family, not just the individual.
David Longridge: For us, clients come first, our employees are a close second, and it’s not about the money. Yes, we are a business, we have to stay afloat, but we have never let a client go for they ran out of insurance benefits or the amount of money. If they’re doing what we ask and they’re making progress and they’re good for the community, my clinical team in the 14 years that we’ve been in business, I don’t think I have ever at one time denied when they’ve asked me to keep someone for free that really needed help, and it was willing to follow direction and work with the group and with the community here, I’ve never said no.
Marvin Kimble: So, you’re truly inspiring change and transforming lives?
David Longridge: Well, it’s funny, I was asked probably a few months ago, what else would I do if I didn’t do this? I thought about it, and the words of my mouth were, “There’s nothing I would rather do.” This saved my life and I’m so grateful. I have such an incredible life today and family because of it. It’s such a simple program, but they call it a simple program for complicated people. But giving back to the community with the gratitude of the people who were there for me when I needed help, that’s what we’re here for. Which, on Thursday nights here at Balboa Horizons, 129 Cabrillo Street in Costa Mesa, we have a community program that’s free to the community.
David Longridge: Burr Cook, our executive clinical director, he runs it for families. It’s not for individuals that are struggling with addiction or trauma, or so forth, it’s for the family members of those people that are at the end of the rope and they don’t know what to do. They’re just thinking, “What? This doesn’t make any sense. What is going on?” That’s what this group is for, and I encourage anybody out there, any family member to please, if you’re listening, this is a group for you. You’re not alone out there. We have a toll-free number as well. It’s 1833-not-alone. That’s Thursday nights. Every Thursday night, 6:30 to 8:30, it’s a tremendous group, and it’s a great service to the community for free.
Marvin Kimble: I would agree with that. Along with that, in talking about families and treatment and individuals in recovery themselves, oftentimes there’s relapse. It doesn’t have to be necessary, but sometimes there’s relapse. What would you say to the people who have relapsed in the past who’ve been treatment before maybe multiple times, who may be on the fence about going to treatment again. What would you say to those people?
David Longridge: I would say, I was a chronic relapsing myself when that employer gave me an opportunity to go see a doctor. A doctor sent me to a treatment center. I got, I think, nine months sober right out of the chute. My life didn’t get good, it got great. I quit drinking and my life got exceptional. It’s just, that’s what my story. That’s the way it was. It got so good that I kind of said, “Hey, you know what? You AA people and you treatment people, you’re nice people. I’ve learned a lot, I’ll take it from here. I’ve learned what I need to learn, and I can handle this by myself.”
David Longridge: And then I ended up probably a couple of weeks later, picked up a drink and ended up on another horrific binge. I lost my clothes, ended up with a three-day whiskers, where could I go? Once again, completely in despair and humiliated at my behavior, I came back to a AA meeting because there was nowhere else I could go where I knew they would have the compassion and understanding of what I was going through. And I did. When I walked back into that group, I was greeted there, I walked through the door fresh off a binge, and the people in the meeting, there was a meeting going on, and the guy stopped right in the middle of his sharing and took a look at me, and took a look at the rest of the room. He said, “Boy, am I glad to see you, Dave.” He looked at the rest of room and he said, “That’s why I don’t drink.” I was wiped out.
David Longridge: But those people were there for me, and they put their arms around me and encouraged me. Here I am today with the solid 21 years, no drinking, doing drugs. I’m so lucky, I’ve got an exceptional wife, three kids, got Balboa Horizons, I’ve got all our employees and all the families and individuals we’ve worked with over the years. There is nothing I’d rather do. But those that relapse and are suffering out there, it takes what it takes. It took what it took for me to be willing to ask for direction and to be willing to follow direction. I think really, if I could say anything to anybody feeling down right now, and humiliated, you never have to feel that way again.
David Longridge: Give yourself a break. Give yourself an opportunity to become the person you’re always supposed to be. And we’re here and we’ve been there and done that. All you have to do is ask us for help, and we are more than willing to put our arms around you and gives you direction, help you to walk through what we’ve walked through and find a power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity. And we’ve got that now. But simply willing to take direction and ask for help and be willing to take direction is as simple as it can get. Do nothing else except take a deep breath, give yourself a time out and ask for help, and then just follow simple directions. It sounds so easy. Like I said in the beginning of this segment, it’s a simple program for complicated people. So, don’t be so complicated, man. Take it easy.
Marvin Kimble: Thanks, Dave. I appreciate it. That’s the Balboa Horizons podcast. I’m Marvin.
David Longridge: I’m Dave.
Marvin Kimble: That’s all from us.