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Our Founder 1

Nico & Father Tomas, 1989


“Nico brings over 20 years of personal experience living through addiction and substance abuse to The Avante program. After enduring early life trauma and the untimely death of his father at 21, Nico battled years of depression and guilt, leading to recurring cycles of substance abuse, overdoses, legal challenges, and incarcerations.

His personal experiences provide him with a deep understanding of what Avante’s clients are experiencing and enables him to connect with patients in a non-judgmental and compassionate manner. Nico’s ability to help client’s explore and address the root causes of their addictive patterns and self-destructive behaviors is invaluable to those in desperate need of guidance.

Both Nico and the Avante team are committed to the long days and often sleepless nights required in addiction detox, demonstrating their level of empathy and compassion toward patients. “There is no textbook that can convey what it feels like to completely surrender to addiction, to feel unworthy or undeserving of happiness. The shame from our experiences and behaviors, and the humiliation of how judgmental people perceive us, just pours fuel onto the fire. It is a level of despair that many feel can only be numbed by more alcohol and drugs and often the concept of fighting for sobriety and recovery becomes such an intimidating obstacle, that its just too much to attempt to negotiate. Those who don’t comprehend the dynamics of addiction often see it as an act of selfishness or self-pity, which at times it may partially be. But more often than not, it is driven through intentional self-punishment and self-destruction. Rarely is it intended to hurt others, although family members and loved ones frequently suffer greatly throughout the process.”

Nico credits ibogaine for transforming and transcending his life. “Without psychedelic-assisted therapy, I would have never made it this far and be able to give back in the ways that we have for the past 10 years. We could never have helped so many without such an extraordinary team. I wake every day humbled and committed to the cause of helping our clients.”

Nico & son Tomas, 2016