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Our Founder

Nico & Father Tomas, 1989

“Nico brings over 20 years of personal experience living through substance abuse and addiction 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 way. 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 conveys what it truly feels like to completely surrender to addiction, to feel thoroughly 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 recovery becomes such an intimidating obstacle, it’s just too much to attempt to negotiate alone. Those who don’t comprehend the dynamics of addiction often see it as an act of selfishness or self-pity. 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 can 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