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By September Dawn Bottoms
Observer Staff Writer 

"How Many Steps Does It Take To Overcome Addiction?" Ask Evo Health & Wellness

Treatment Clinic EVO is "Not about the drugs, it's about the people."

 

September 16, 2017

September Dawn Bottoms

The Entrance to EVO Health and Wellness in Venice features ladybugs

A new addiction treatment clinic has opened its doors in Venice, Calif.

EVO Health and Wellness offers a program that differs from the usual Alcoholics Anonymous or 12 Step programs, in that it doesn't focus on addiction, but the trauma believed to have caused it.

Koorosh Rassekh, CEO and Founder of EVO Health and Wellness, believes that he can see humans through the impact of trauma and in order to manage addiction, there is a great need to manage and understand the trauma first.

Rassekh is no stranger to addiction. He dealt with it much of his adult life until his late thirties when he became homeless and decided to seek treatment. He became an active member of AA, eventually becoming a sponsor.

"I became a sort of a golden boy... I'm really good at being what is necessary," said Rassekh.

Rassekh went on to volunteer at the Matrix Institute and eventually graduated from USC, becoming a therapist. But he felt conflicted. That something was missing.

"My appearance didn't match what I was feeling internally," said Rassekh.

During his time at the Matrix Institute, he received a grant that allowed him to work closely with high school students and deliver treatment for free. But he took a different approach. Instead of the typical 12 steps, Rassekh focused more on hobbies. He stocked up on things like bicycles, art supplies- anything that would redirect the teenagers attention.

He focused the group meetings on relationships and personal goals, resulting in a noticeable difference. Rassekh felt like AA wasn't a solution to trauma but a tool to teach people how to go through the maze of addiction differently, and that's what he set out to change.

According to Stefanie Ritoper, Director of Marketing, EVO is, "Not about the drugs, it's about the people," and the goal of EVO is to focus on the individual and their needs rather than the fact that they're an addict. To EVO, their addiction is not all encompassing.

September Dawn Bottoms

Koorosh Rassekh, CEO and Founder of EVO Health and Wellness

EVO is a six-day a week program broken down into three main parts to help clients. Their approach to therapy includes one-on-one, group and family sessions. Somatics like mindfulness and yoga that focus primarily on the body, and "engagement," the finding of a baseline level of security for the client and then focusing on personal goals.

As of now there are about 12 people on EVO's entire staff, six of them therapists and only a handful of clients. "As [EVO] grows, our staff will grow too," said Ritoper.

The main difference, and perhaps the most controversial between EVO and other addiction programs, is the fact that they do not require abstinence or test patients for current drug use. "AA has saved so many lives. If it works for you then do it," said Rassekh, but he wanted to make sure other options are out there.

 

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