Able To Change Recovery Staff
Saralyn Cohen, CATC, CSC, CCDS,
CEO, Founder, President
After many experiences with various treatment centers, Saralyn felt there was a fundamental need to create a substance abuse facility that would be sympathetic to both clients and their families. She began to understand how difficult it was to find a treatment center that shared this philosophy. With this in mind, Saralyn founded Able To Change Recovery, Inc. (ATCR) in 1999. She has served as the President and Chairperson of ATCR since its inception.
In August of 2002, she became Vice President & board member for the Orange County National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency. A National non-profit association devoted to “empower the recovery community through outreach and education programs.” During the same time period, she served as Chairman on the Ethics committee and Field Inspection Officer for the Sober Living Coalition of Orange County.
Saralyn loves running, weight training, deep-sea fishing, cooking, and spending time with her loving family.
Treatment Coordinator / Insurance Claims Specialist
Pat joined Able to Change Recovery as Treatment Coordinator in November, 2008. She is responsible for the coordination and scheduling of all processes related to client treatment from intake to successful completion.
Pat’s previous business experience includes accounting, budgeting, inventory management, purchasing, human resources training, contract management, facilities management, and production control in the diverse fields of computer manufacturing, education, and the power industry.
After 19 years with Unisys Corporation, Pat joined Edison International as Manager of Information Technologies Administration Group. Her most recent experience has been with University of California, Irvine (UCI) as Manager of Custom Designed Programs for Internationals. She has completed coursework toward he B.S. in Business Administration at University of La Verne and University of Phoenix.
Pat immensely enjoys her work at Able to Change Recovery and is particularly committed to helping clients to smoothly navigate the series of processes from their entry into treatment to successful completion. Pat resides in Trabuco Canyon and in her “off” time enjoys kayaking, hiking, camping, and reading.
Chief Financial Officer
Linda joined Able To Change Recovery in 2006 managing all the organization’s accounting, banking, budgeting, cash flow, bill pay, and the financial reporting for all regulatory agencies and professional credentialing affiliations.
Linda has been involved for the past ten years with The Drug Court Foundation, a non-profit organization in Orange County and has been an active member of the Al-Anon Family Groups for over twenty years.
Chief Networking Officer
Chris Mitchell has played an integral role in Able to Change Recovery since its inception over 16 years ago. He has greatly aided in helping Saralyn’s vision come to fruition in providing a safe and ethical treatment facility that is sympathetic to both clients and their families. Over the years Chris has helped weather the storms and stay the course, as Able to Change Recovery has flourished into one of the most well respected treatment centers in Orange County. Currently Chris is CCAPP certified and in school working towards becoming a certified CADAC counselor. As Program Director, Chris believes that this certification will better enable him to address clients needs in an ever-changing industry.
In his free time Chris spends the majority of his time raising his teenage twin boys Adam and Johnny. On most Saturday mornings you can find Chris either on the golf course or down at Wedge if the surf is right.
Kurtis began working in the Treatment & Recovery Field in early 2014 after concluding he wanted to more positively affect others, in a way his previous carrier was unable to offer. Finding his way into the admissions and outreach side of the industry. Kurtis found his way to Able to Change after relocating to Orange County with his wife who is a Marriage and Family therapist. Kurtis remains excited to have landed at Able to Change with its high standard for ethical practices and caring staff.
Outside of work Kurtis spend a lot of time in the ocean surfing and freediving. He is also a member of the National Ski Patrol working at local ski resorts to provide first aid and rescue to resort guests.
Utilization and Review
He joined Able to Change Recovery in 2015 after holding multiple positions at other substance abuse programs in Orange County. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Arizona State University and also holds a Master of Healthcare Administration from University of La Verne. In addition, he also graduated from Centaur University with a Chemical Dependency Counseling certification. He has extensive experience in utilization review and healthcare management.
Marc has a passion for helping individuals suffering from addiction and other mental health disorders. He believes that the best clinical outcomes are by supporting his team of counselors, therapists, and case managers. Marc lives in Newport Beach with his wife and pets. He enjoys golfing, traveling, and cooking.
Ron Israel, MA, CADC II, NCAC I
Primary Chemical Dependency Counselor
Ron Israel is an addiction professional with over 28 years of service in the field of chemical dependency. He earned his Bachelors of Arts Degree in Human Services at Cal State University Fullerton, and he holds a Master of Arts Degree in Management Health Services. He holds certifications as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Level II, National Certified Addiction Counselor, and and Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
After 8 years of service as Director of Addiction Services at Charter Behavioral Health Systems in Mission Viejo, he pursued private practice. In 2000, Ron began his affiliation with Able To Change Recovery when he held the program’s first group counseling session for a hand full of tough hard-core alcoholic-addicts in his small private practice office. That first group was the beginning of his dedication to help develop the Able To Change Recovery treatment program into what it is today.
As the founder of Hawk Counseling and Consulting, Ron continues his private practice in San Juan Capistrano, CA where he provides outpatient individual counseling, family counseling, intervention services, and addiction treatment consulting. Having served as Regional Director of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC), he is dedicated to helping bring new addiction counselors into the field. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a native Californian. Ron has four children, three grandchildren, and resides with his beautiful and tolerant wife Brenda and their Doberman Jazz, in Rancho Margarita CA.
Billy Grow,CATC II, CCS
Primary Chemical Dependency Counselor, Clinical Supervisor
Billy Grow began his Alcohol and Drug studies in late 1996 and graduated in 1999 when he obtained his first job at Charter Hospital in Mission Viejo CA. In 2000 he achieved his state certification,and since then has worked in several Psychiatric hospitals with Dual Diagnosis patients, several IOP programs, the criminal justice population, and Residential Treatment Programs. Billy has called Able To Change Recovery home since 2003, and has a passion for the study and understanding of all Addictive Disorders and the underlying issues that drive self-destructive behaviors. He also loves the science of the neurobiology of attachment; affect regulation, developmental trauma/trauma, shame and addiction and neurochemistry and impact of psychoactive substances. Billy is committed to the education not only of his clients, but also of college students, and is a regular speaker by invitation at CSUF educating many students in Abnormal Psych about Addictive Disorders. He is a member of the Saddleback College Community Advisory committee for the Human Services Dept. helping students who are seeking careers in the Behavioral Health field. Billy has provided supervision and internships for students for over 12 years. On the opposite side of all this Billy’s interest include technology, computers, the building of computers, he loves mixing boards and assorted toys of the type and has his own internet radio station. Classic rock is another of his interests and attending live shows is a high priority. He loves camping in the Eastern Sierra’s and trout fishing at Lake Mary. But of all things Billy has loved all his Pit Bulls the most. He currently lives with his 6-year-old girl named Tinker and spending time with her is of great importance.
Aryan Monroe, LMFT
Nili Askeri, MFTi
In her free time Nili enjoys spending time with her family and friends, going to psychology conventions, playing the piano, going to concerts and spending time at Disneyland with her niece.
Pete Ellington, MA
Working for many years in the field of Chemical Dependency has included working in Psychiatric Hospitals with Dual Diagnosis clients, numerous IOP programs and The Criminal Justice program and Residential Treatment programs.
He has enjoyed traveling the world and enjoys experiencing learning about other cultures. He is voracious reader of books about history and crime novels.
His personal recover has allowed him to bring some of his experiences to be a valuable asset here at Able To Change Recovery.
When she is not working, Kayla spends her days raising her 13-month old son, Ryder. Kayla loves rock and roll music and enjoys attending as many live shows as she can. She loves the outdoors and grew up riding motorcycles, spending the summer in Lake Havasu boating and wakeboarding, and even zip-lining over Lake Travis in Texas. She loves spending time with her family but most of all, with her two dogs, a corgi named Harley and her pit bull named Jax.
Her other activities include aviation – having received her private pilot license in 2015 flying in the LA Basin. She believes it is exceptionally important to maintain an open view of the world and people – using flying as a literal and figurative means to do so. In addition, she co-founded and manages an anime convention in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. During her spare time she also enjoys playing video games and updating her related blog, reading, and marathon training.
Kirsten Eschen, CATC II
Utilization Review Case Manager
Kirsten is the Clinical Accreditation Specialist at Able To Change Recovery. Prior to becoming a full time member of our team, Kirsten completed two semesters of internship requirements at Able to Change to earn her A.S. Degree in Alcohol and Drug Studies from Saddleback College. Kirsten is a registered member of CAADE and has a B.A. in Communications from CSU Long Beach. Kirsten’s passion for advocacy, work ethic and personal values contribute to our ability to provide a program that maintains excellence in integrity, dignity, and quality of care. Kirsten also facilitates parenting workshops for Boot Camp for New Moms.
Brian began his journey working in the recovery field in 2013 & is a current CCAPP (California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals) member. His current roles at Able To Change Recovery include maintaining it’s CARF accreditation, being point of contact for the California Department Of Health Care Services, attending conferences with clinical staff & helping ensure that Able To Change Recovery continues to provide the high level of client care it is known for.
He currently resides in Costa Mesa and is active in the 12 Step community. In his “free” time he is an avid waterman, traveler and reader. He can often be found in the ocean or spending vacation time in Loreto BCS, Mexico.
Jean joined Able to Change in May 2015 as a Resident Advisor Her efforts,talents, genuine love of people and hospitality were quickly recognized. She is now Supervisor of daily operations at all 5 of Able to Change properties. Keeping our houses to a high standard and warm atmosphere for clients to live and recover.Prior toAble to Change Jean graduated from Arizona State University with her degree in Elementary Education. After raising her two daughters in Southern California, Jean went back to work for high profile companies such as Marriott, Ritz Carlton and Bloomingdales as a event coordinator . When Jean isn’t on the job you can find her spending time with her husband of 40 years or juggling any of her 4 grandchildren.
Pete Gallette has been a fixture at Able to Change Recovery since he joined the Able to Change family in 2012. Pete is the Operations Manager and has the responsibility of keeping all of Able to Change’s properties and vehicles looking like they are brand new. This is no easy task as aside from supervising all the physical labor that goes into such an endeavor he is also responsible for keeping track of an inordinate amount of paperwork required for both our State License and CARF Accreditation. Pete is no stranger to hard work, as he was in the Martin Bros. Carpenter’s Union for over a decade prior to joining Able to Change.
Pete is the Father of a 24 year-old daughter and two sons ages 14 and 15. When he is not helping them learn to drive or going to their sporting events he will be out in Ocotillo Wells riding moto. During the summertime you can find him hitting the surf or out on the golf course. He is also an avid builder and enjoys fixing things.