Clinician’s Corner – Zach Dorfman

Clinician’s Corner

April 9, 2019
The Clinician’s Corner is a weekly feature of the Addiction/Recovery eBulletin. We send our participants forty questions and ask them to choose twenty they would like to answer. It includes a short profile and a link to their website. We hope you enjoy it.



Zach Dorfman is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor who works with people suffering from alcoholism and addiction.

Overcoming a personal battle with addiction and mental health at a young age, Zach knows first-hand about the difficult road to recovery. In June of 2011, Zach successfully got sober. At just three and a half years into sobriety, Zach was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder 1.

In 2016, Zach moved to Jerusalem where he earned his International License as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor. After working for two years abroad, he returned to Los Angeles in pursuit of helping others. While back in California, Zach worked for five different facilities before starting A Life After Recovery, or ALAR for short.

ALAR helps people suffering from both substance abuse and mental health issues integrate back into mainstream society more seamlessly. Not only does ALAR work with individuals, but also with families in order to change family dynamics. ALAR is also proud to serve as an educational resource for our local communities and institutions.

Learn more about Zach at:



Q. If you are in recovery, what was your DOC and when did you discontinue its use?
A. Oxycontin, Percocet, Klonopin, dilaudid, and alcohol. I stopped using and drinking June 24, 2011. About 2 and a half weeks after I tried taking my own life.

Q. Do you believe leaders are made or born?
A. Leaders are made. It’s all based off of their life experiences and everything that has or hasn’t happened throughout their lives.     

Q. Which film have you watched the most?
A. Remember the Titans and Miracle. Both are uplifting inspirational and describe what are work ethic should be and how we should treat others.

Q. If you ever retire, would you prefer to live by the ocean, lake, river, or mountaintop, or penthouse?
A . In Jerusalem near the old city where the Wailing Wall is. It’s very spiritual there.

Q. How do you measure success?
A. Through the efforts and actions taken by people to earn their accomplishments rather than just being handed everything.

Q. If you had an extra million dollars, which charity would you donate it to?
A. Chabad on Campus. Specifically @ Cal State Northridge. They helped save my life several years back.

Q. Who was your biggest influence throughout your life?
A. My Father, he’s been there every step of the way regardless of rain or shine.

Q. What is your current hobby?
A. Golf, it’s one my in the moment action based forms of mindfulness. The harder I try and the more I force a shot, the worse I do. The more I implement what I’ve practiced and let the rest up to my higher power (for me it’s God), the better I do. Just like in life.

Q. What prominent fe/male figure would you most like to date?
A. Nikki Haley, she tells it just the way it is no sugar coating. My type of gal.

Q. Who is your FAVORITE Director?
A. Quentin Tarantino. His attention to detail and sometimes lack thereof along with his gruesome is impeccable.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Band/composer/musical artist?
A. Mumford and Sons. Their music is just so real and relatable.

Q. What is your FAVORITE Restaurant?
A. Koi. Sushi is my favorite meal and my family and I have been eating there for over 10 years.

Q. What is your FAVORITE City?
A. Again, Jerusalem, it’s just an amazing place to be.

Q. Do you take work home with you?
A. No. I love what I do and it helps keep me alive. But the same time just like everything that is healthy for you, too much of it and it’s not healthy anymore. So I’ve learned to have boundaries.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
A. My grandmother had a saying. ‘You can hit me, but don’t shit me.’ Meaning you can hit me okay I can take that. But you can’t bullshit me.

Q. Do you think addiction is an illness, a disease, a choice, or a wicked twist of fate?
A. It’s a messed up combination. For some of us we didn’t choose our childhood and most certainly didn’t choose to have those horrendous things happen to us. However, we did make a conscious decision to take those substances to help us cope and forget some of those pains and painful feelings. Some just simply had no choice, as bad is seems to say. For them that was the only option.

Q. What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
A. Starting my own company.

Q. What is the proudest moment in your life?
A. Starting my own company at the age of 30.

Q. What prompted you to go into the healing profession?
A. I was in a mental health PHP program at UCLA, 3 and a half years into sobriety because I had just found out I have Bipolar Disorder 1. Whilst in the program, I was asked on multiple occasions by multiple staff members, “Zach, What are you doing when you get here? You keep saying that you don’t want to go back to your career of sales marketing. What are you going to do?” Just the same way the thought of getting sober came into my head after trying to take my own life, the thought of having to help people came to mind. 7 months after completing the program I moved to Jerusalem and enrolled in a program to get my International License as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor.

Q. Do you think clients in residential rehab should have access to their cell phones, and why?
A. No. It’s very simple. They are there to change their ways. If they are continuing same behaviors in treatment as they were doing out of treatment they are going to get the same results. It’s all about changing our beliefs, so we can change our thoughts so we can change our actions.