At Holina, we understand that that when it comes to a long-term successful recovery, addiction treatment in residential rehab is only the beginning. But it’s such an important beginning!.
It’s time to get back to yourself.
But it wasn’t always like that… Early 2001, aged 29, after 13 years of chronic drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness, and unemployment (well, at least lacking any desire for any kind of legal employment) and living as an outlaw (outside of the law, outside of society even), he discovered a permanent way out of his debilitating lifestyle; and through hard work with a strong vision, Ian rebuilt himself a new world filled with the riches and royalties that life has to offer – addiction free! Ian is often heard talking about his quality of life being beyond anything he could have even dreamed of previously (beyond his wildest dreams).
Ian’s professional career in addiction treatment began with his returning to the clinic that had helped him recover personally, initially in a support role and then going on, over time, to become responsible for the front of the house for the only Young Persons 12-Step Residential Clinic, at the time, was in operation within Europe. It was based in South Kensington, Southwest London, and it was here that Ian became therapeutically trained, though with an interest in working with family members alongside the patient, to breed enthusiasm and appropriate boundaries and to prepare loved ones for treatment.
Ian went on to develop his reputation and position within the nation and then the international addiction treatment industry by becoming the founder of two large addiction treatment facilities back in the UK in 2004 and 2006. Later in his career, he built a further two more rehabs in Chiang Mai in 2018 and Phuket in 2020, both in Thailand, before the COVID Pandemic closed the world down.
During his long career, he has also been a global figure who’s delivered consultancy to various other treatment providers and rehabs, in various corners around the world. In 2021, at the end of the global pandemic, he signed a deal with Yossi Zubari to co-create HOLINA Global, beginning in Koh Phangan, in February 2022. This was his 5th Rehab, and Holina Village for Young People in Cyprus is his 6 th which opened in May 2023.
Ian founded his private practice “Sober-Services” in 2008 which helps people attain and maintain recovery from their addiction challenges (typically alcohol and narcotics) by offering bespoke packages of treatment to individuals and their families are also affected by the client, typically revolving around two primary services –
1) Sober Interventions, a process that helps families assist their loved ones or colleagues, typically unwilling initially, largely due to their denial of the problems they’re causing, into residential treatment. Intervening with a person you care about care be the toughest part of your role as a parent, but through tough love, you can make a difference in their lifestyle.
2) Sober Companions / Recovery Coaches, working intensely with individuals to bring about positive change in their behaviours and their lifestyles, are goal-focused and led in a peer-to-peer manner. This would also include Sober Transportation (nationally and internationally). Typically Sober Companions operate as support post-resident treatment. Sometimes they operate as an alternative, and in these cases, they’re referred to as Sober Body Guards.
Sober Services was a pioneering business in this aspect as it was the first non-North American company to be offering Sober Transportation, as well as a bank of staff to serve as Sober Companions and Recovery Coaches. Ian was also one of the very first non-North Americans formally trained in Interventions and has since been able to serve families around the planet in this specific skill of helping families struggling with their loved one’s disease by helping the afflicted choose treatment and to accept the help of the family want to offer.
Ian is an outstanding and charismatic speaker, very comfortable presenting and solving problems from the stage. It is his natural skill of engaging both large and small audiences that has taught Ian to exploit his organic talent of being a positive influence over individuals, for whom any encounter is both uplifting and thought-shifting. Ian’s style is dynamic, inspiring, and enthusiastic, both organically and because of his skills as a Trainer. So Ian established Sober-Academy in 2015 to support others wishing to work intensely within the professional addiction treatment industry. Their two signature programs were “Certified Sober Interventions” and “Certified Recovery Coaching” for Sober Companions, with “Sober Practitioner” being also written and designed, and a shorter “Sober Transporter” training delivered in a one-day training on multiple occasions. He has since delivered training in the UK, Holland, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Russia, and Thailand.
Ian is one of 7 Founding members and the first Chairperson of EARS – European Association of Recovery Specialists, for Interventionists & Recovery Specialists, which was birthed in Rome in November 2017, offering collaboration and support amongst its pan-European (and beyond) members. Today EARS has members in 12 countries and continues to grow as a great resource for recovery specialists, which is an emerging sector in the services towards addiction recovery.
Ian is both honoured and proud to be one of 35 founding members (2012) The Network for Transformational Leaders (formally the ATL – Association of Transformation Leaders), the qualification for membership of which involves positively affecting the lives of over 6000 people. This group meets bi-annually somewhere around the world to exchange best practices and support one another’s endeavours to co-create a better planet for every one of its residents.
Ian’s life story and also his journey into and through Recovery can be read in full in his brutally honest published autobiography “It’s Not About Me ~ Confessions of a Recovered Outlaw Addict, from Living Hell to Living Big”. This is an easy-to-read page-turner, telling Ian’s full story going into the depths of his addictions whilst maintaining his world traveller adventurer status as a means to DJ globally, traffic & smuggle drugs and attempt to ensure that the party (literally) never ended. It offers a candid description of the difficulties and challenges he faced during the 3 years of his attempts to change, trying to clean himself up before discovering abstinence based 12 step recovery, and most importantly the practical and spiritual lessons he’s learned through his many years helping others remain drug and alcohol-free and turning his attentions to the welfare of others (hence the title).
Currently, Ian is the Managing Director of Holina Global, simultaneously engaged in managing all of the Holina brands in multiple sites, including Holina Rehab Thailand, Holina Detox (medical and non-medical), Holina Wellness, Holina Retreats, Holina Therapy, Holina Trainings, Holina Yoga, and the Holina Village for 14 – 26-year-olds in Cyprus. He leads his teams from a place of example and loves to help make things run smoothly across all the Holina realms. He is the most likely person you’ll speak to if you call up Holina and make an inquiry – he is essentially the front of house and the ambassador. This professional role is perfectly suited to Ian, not least because of his long history in the addiction treatment industry building rehabs and businesses, but in particular because of his time management skills and his ability to nurture and host great rapport with his teams, growing and influencing them into even better versions of themselves and as a much stronger unit altogether. Furthermore, he is an uber connector of people.
His charismatic and intelligent approach to business and projects alike brings a truly exceptional edge to all those fortunate enough to work alongside him and experience his energy, humour and passion. With his background and his understanding of the psychology of the human condition, Ian makes a unique addition to the human gene pool. Ian’s mission is to co-create a green and harmonious world, through laughter and love, bringing a better quality of life to all who cross his path and beyond.
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