Founder Message

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Kory Avarell, Founder of Above It All Treatment, redefines devotion with his hands-on approach to the treatment of those addicted to drugs and alcohol. Making a connection to every single life that enters through the doors of Above It All, success and sobriety of each individual is as important to Kory and the rest of the staff as it is for those seeking treatment.
Rehabilitation Process at Above It All in Lake Arrowhead, CA

“I’m going to give away the “secret” to our alcohol drug treatment program right here. We immerse people into a full life – a life beyond drugs and alcohol. A life that includes opening our eyes and looking at the incredible beauty inside and outside of us that is Creation’s miracle. For so very long, we were unable to see it – not because we didn’t want to, but because we didn’t know how. The nature surrounding the Above It All Treatment Center provides an ideal setting. The distinct tranquility of the area supports an environment where quiet healing can happen on the inside. This is good news! We can all get clean and sober on the outside; but it is the work we do on the inside that transforms our lives.

I also want to proudly state up front that we focus our recovery on the 12-Step program as outlined in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. In my many years as a member of the AA fellowship, I have heard numerous comments about drug rehabilitation treatment programs being “Ten-thousand dollar Big Books.” It’s an old joke. Yet, to a certain extent it is true. Kory Avarell and PlutoSome people don’t “get” AA, though they may have attended meetings for weeks or months or even years. I didn’t “get it” from the beginning. I didn’t even “get it” in the first drug rehabilitation treatment program I entered in October of 1982 – even though they took us to meetings and brought meetings into the facility. I believed that it could save my life, but I didn’t “get” how. And mostly, I couldn’t imagine why anyone would drink or use again after fully realizing they were an alcoholic or an addict. I stayed in that alcohol rehab treatment program the full time and left feeling wonderful. I drank on the DAY I had six months of sobriety. I was not upset about anything. I just gave into the thought, “I wonder what would happen.” I then lied about the fact that I was drinking. I was instantly back living the insanity that is addiction. AA is and was free, but even my 28 – day, $10,000 experience in 1982 didn’t help me “get it.” Not yet.

Now, let me back up a bit. I went to my first AA meeting in April of 1982. I did it for someone I loved. I felt at home in my first meeting, like I belonged. Not everyone experiences that. But beyond feeling comfortable and like I belonged with the people of AA, I didn’t “get it” and I didn’t continue going. Six months later, I called a treatment center that advertised on television. I called because I didn’t know how to live, and I didn’t know how to die, and I didn’t want to linger in the middle any longer. When I called, I was disappointed to learn that they used a 12-Step approach, because (and I truly believed this at the time) I had tried that, and it didn’t work. In between 1982 and now, I have “gotten it.” And I know others who “get it.” I am now here to help others get it. We have developed a treatment program that includes taking a close look at ourselves, without tearing ourselves down in the process. We use the 12 Steps to examine our lives – not just our drinking and use, but our relationships with others, the way we think, the unconscious and conscious things that motivate us. What many people have difficulty understanding was that drinking and using was my answer long before it was my problem. It’s simply an answer that worked (or seemed to work) for a time, until it turned on me. At this point, it looked to me and everyone else like the drugs and alcohol were the problem. If they were the problem, we could take them away and everything would be fine. They do stand in the way of the solution, but they are not the problem. I had to stop drinking and using in order to begin to see my life clearly by using the 12 Steps and other tools. I was then able to go back and address those things that ate away at me and kept me prisoner for so long – those things that made me feel separate from everyone else.

That’s why alcohol and drugs helped, by the way. For a time, they either made me feel comfortable – with others, with myself, and with those things that made me feel like I was not enough. For a while, alcohol and drugs made me feel like I was enough – good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, loved enough… you name it. It’s not important, I believe, that the words I write here are fully understood or that they relate completely to the person we want to help. What I do want to get across is this: Most of the wonderful members of 12-Step programs are just people. They are not all treatment professionals or counselors or therapists or doctors (though there are many who I believe know far more about recovery than many professionals).

When a newcomer walks into a 12-Step meeting, he does not know who “gets it” and who doesn’t. He may be blessed enough to connect with someone who does “get it” and who has the knowledge, time, personality and patience to help him get it too. This is an important factor of the program – helping others. In reality, what happens for many is they have not had this serendipitous experience. They think they’ve tried a 12-Step program and they came to a conclusion such as, “That won’t work for me.” I strongly believe they have yet to learn what “that” is. Or they’ve been to meetings and say things like, “I didn’t like it.” Personally, I rarely like anything I don’t understand. It’s not comfortable.

I’ve also heard people say 12 Step drug rehabilitation programs are religious because they hear terms such as “God and Higher Power” being used. I differentiate Spiritual from Religious. Not everyone does. This is a very personal issue, and no one at our treatment center is going to tell someone what they must believe or how they must practice that belief. Instead, our staff will share what worked and what didn’t work in their lives with regard to these concepts. I honestly believe our drug rehabilitation program and our staff have all of the essential qualities to help people in trouble wake up to the possibility of being happy, joyous and free. We’ve done the work and received the blessings. And we could have missed it all. We don’t want you or your loved one to miss it. 

I hope you will give us the privilege of sharing our experience, strength and hope.”


Let the beauty of nature assist in your recovery. Call today to learn more about our programs.