Able to Change Recovery in San Juan Capistrano, CA

Overall Rating

(4.2 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
31501 Rancho Viejo Road #101
San Juan Capistrano CA 92675

Able to Change Recovery Philosophy

Able to change Recovery is a modern medical model treatment center.
We’ve taken the fundamentals of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, trusted for over 80 years, and included evidence-based treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders.

Areas of Specialization

  • Family Program
    Research shows that the odds of successful, sustained recovery from addiction are far higher when family members and loved ones are involved in treatment. Drug and alcohol addiction often have genetic roots, whether related to substance abuse, mental illness or both. Family dynamics also play a role and, often, family members are the first to realize a loved one has developed an addiction. Also, it’s important for family members to understand and embrace the lifestyle changes that are required to sustain recovery.

  • Equine Therapy
    A form of animal therapy, equine therapy involves visiting, working with and sometimes riding horses as a way to create a metaphoric relationship that leads to life-altering insights.

Facility Highlights

Indivdiual counseling, group counceling, intense family therapy

We offer residential , partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment programs.

Meditation, Tai-Chi, Yoga, and Equine Therapy

Meet the Staff

Saralyn Cohen, CATC, CSC, CCDS

CEO, Founder and President

Photo of Saralyn Cohen, CATC, CSC, CCDS

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.

Ron Israel, CADC II, NCAC I

Primary Chemical Dependency Counselor, Clinical Supervisor

Photo of Ron Israel, CADC II, NCAC I

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. 360 Guide

Review by Contributors


Able to Change Recovery, located in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and founded in 1999, is a modern medical treatment center that offers residential, partial hospitalization (PHP), extended care, and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) to individuals struggling with substance abuse and/or co-occurring mental health disorders. It is part of the 15.8 percent of facilities in the state that offer detox services on site.

This facility on Rancho Viejo Road houses the administrative offices and the Chemical Dependency Treatment Center. Other Able to Change Recovery locations include six gender-specific residences, such as the Lake Forest Men’s Facility and the Monarch Beach Women’s Facility.


Able to Change Recovery takes an individualized approach to recovery that combines 12-Step with evidence-based treatments. Each client’s program is developed through a psychiatric evaluation and a computer-assisted clinical software program called the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) assessment.

After the initial assessment, treatment is broken down into three phases depending on an individual’s needs: primary treatment, intensive outpatient, and exit planning. The first phase lasts 28 days, the second lasts 56, and the third is 84 days.

Primary treatment can be either residential or partial hospitalization and begins with 24-hour supervised care that decreases as clients stabilize. Only 18.5 percent of California facilities offer a partial hospitalization option. The program consists of multiple group therapy sessions and daily 12-step community meetings, as well as fitness activities, individual counseling, and an intensive family program. Individuals are also required to meet with their primary chemical dependency counselor each week. Holistic options, such as yoga and Tai Chi, are also available to patients.

Upon completion of phase one, the client often moves into the intensive outpatient program. This phase is a transition phase that combines primary care with employment and school assistance to prepare the client for reintegration into the community. Clients are required to attend 10 hours of weekly groups, counseling sessions, and 12-step meetings on-site. They must also obtain employment within two weeks. Moderate supervision is provided.

The final phase of Able to Change Recovery’s program is the exit phase, where clients begin planning for discharge from the rehab. The discharge plan includes employment opportunities, living arrangements, setting up finances, continual medical compliance, creating a support system, 12-step activities, and follow-up outpatient treatment. Minimal supervision is provided and clients are required to attend alumni group therapy once a week. Family counseling and individual therapy sessions are also available if needed.


The facility supports a robust staff of licensed therapists, certified addiction counselors, specialists, and program directors. It boasts an impressive staff-to-client ratio of 3:1. It is part of the 27.9 percent of facilities in the state to be CARF-accredited.


During residential care, residents begin their day typically at 6 a.m. Individuals build a recovery-oriented community through completing daily house chores and participating in weekly outings. The 22-bed facility offers opportunity for ping pong, Tai Chi, life coaching, yoga, and meditation. In addition, clients meet weekly with a nutritionist for cooking classes.


Alumni surveyed by gave glowing reviews of the facility, noting the caring staff and learning needed to maintain a happy and healthy life. All three of the alumni surveyed at the time of this writing gave the facility a rating of five out of five stars when asked if they would recommend treatment at Able to Change Recovery.

In addition, the alumni offered perfect five-star ratings for the respect shown to clients, level of staff support, and cleanliness of the facility. “All of the staff at Able to Change seemed to care about my well-being – both in the office and at the house…This program completely changed my life,” wrote alum Beth.

Reviewers on third-party sites tended to agree. On Yelp, the facility received an excellent rating of 4.5 out of five stars across 19 reviews.[1] Likewise, 16 reviewers on Google gave an average rating of 4.8 out of five stars.[2] “Able to Change Recovery not only saved my life but taught me to love myself and to see the world through clear eyes,” Jamie wrote in a representative review on Yelp. Many others continued to praise the staff, describing staff members as “exceptional” and “amazing” while crediting their continued success in recovery to Able to Change.


The sole loved one polled by to date was less enthusiast, offering low one-star ratings for the facility's family program, qualifications of staff members, and level of staff support. Overall, the loved one was very critical of the facility's overall price. Also giving affordability a one-star rating, the loved one wrote: "WAY WAY to expensive."

Two mothers and an aunt on Yelp praised the facility for saving their children’s lives. For instance, Laura, a parent, wrote: “My son was so far gone, he wouldn’t have live much longer. I credit ATC for saving him.”


Able to Change Recovery is in network with almost every major insurance provider. The rehab also works with Prosper Healthcare Lending to provide financing options for potential clients.


[2] GoogleReviews

Published on May 2019

User Reviews

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Able to change saved my daughters life. Admitted with Severe opioid addiction. 1 month inpatient 1 month sober living discharge and working! Important things to note about this recovery. First, during the inpatient they prescribed her non narcotic medicines to treat her underlying physiological conditions, anxiety and ADHD. I can't tell you how important that was as she used drugs to treat these things before and ended up with big addition problems and a life that was falling apart. Life is really good now she has a job see really likes and she is getting positive feedback from her work which is reinforcing her sobriety. She is starting to learn she doesn't know her own potential as she did drugs for so many years and had so much undiscovered intelligence and talent. It is so exciting for her and it would not be possible without able to change and her own desire to be sober. She will continue the non narcotic meds which are really helping. These guys are experts! special thanks to her drug counselor as he was a huge part of her recovery. As her father I am forever grateful to you ! You are an angel I am forever grateful to you and able to change! So take a moment and feel the love as you are saving lives and families. Thank god for people like you!!! Thank you all from able to change for your team work!!!


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My first treatment center and I absolutely loved it. The staff really cares about and caters to your needs. The houses were immaculate and very welcoming. All of admin and the counselors made sure that you were comfortable and well taken care of. The house managers I had were very good then I went to work for them myself. I could not ask for a better treatment center as a client. I honestly believe had it not been for them caring for me so much as a client that I would not be almost 19 months clean still. I would recommend Able To Change to anyone who really wants to get and stay clean and have a staff that really cares for you


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I am a middle age person put in a house full of loud rowdy 20 somethings. Always playing vulgar rap music loudly. Asked to change housing on 3rd day there. The management is awful. Workers are good. Beware of the living conditions. And I left with no med plan,, just a bunch of pills in a plastic bag.


Houses are filthy, have spiders, and in general disrepair.


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I cant even begin to describe how amazing this staff is and how well this place is put together. I came in here being so rude and out of my mind- they all treated me so wonderful even though I was being ridiculous. This place saved my life and has made me keep striving to stay sober. The daily groups are incredible and have really helped me get to the root of why I am an addict. My family and I have grown a stronger bond and I am finally getting my life in the right direction because of this place! Honestly, Thank You Able To Change!


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This was my sixth attempt at treatment. I have been to very solid facilities in the past such as Hazelden, and all of them were in fact good programs. I was finally beaten down enough this last time that I was willing to do anything to change and with Able To Change's help and the guidance of an amazing counselor I was finally able to put the knowledge I had gained over the years into use on a daily living.


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Coming into Able to Change i was not sure whether I wanted to stay sober or not. The employees have all been through similar experiences in there life and are more then willing to share how they got through it. After 28 days inpatient I was willing to stay for phase 2 and move into out patient. It was the only program that I did not relapse in and completed. I took 6 months off of all substances and have no intention to go back.


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$600.00 PER DAY,,,,RELAPSE COMON...not a high sucsess rate.I belive due to dual diagnisis AND alcoholic Addicts all together same treatment??


The care and treatment I received while at Able to Change was highly personalized. I felt that everyone truly cared about my success and they did an excellent job at teaching me the coping skills needed to live a happy, healthy life. I was both in Residential Treatment and IOP at Able to Change. The counselors are excellent and truly cared about my success. In addition, all of the staff at Able to Change seemed to care about my well-being - both in the office and at the house. The groups were very informative and held my attention. I learned a lot about addiction and the underlying causes of my own addiction. I really liked that it is a small facility as there was a lot of one-on-one care and everything took place with a fairly small group of people. This program completely changed my life. It is a solid program that helped me transition into living sober!

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