Ian A. Young

Company: Sober Services

Position: Director

Expert Overview

“Helping people attain & maintain addiction recovery through professional services”

Ian Young is an Addiction Specialist, originally from London, UK, who uses his own experiences
to see how he can improve the quality of other people’s lives and genuinely benefit others. He’s
solution focussed and likes to overcome challenges. He’s always happy to help.

Ian has been working in the Private Sector of the Addiction and Behavioural Health Industry
since 2003, successfully touching the lives of thousands of people and their families, showing
them a new way to live and encouraging them to rebuild their lives without their destructive
patterns or influences, once and for all.
But it wasn’t always like that… Early 2001, aged 29, after 13 years of chronic drug addiction,
alcoholism, homelessness, 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! In fact, Ian is often heard talking about his quality of life being beyond
anything he could possibly have even dreamed off previously (beyond his wildest dreams).
Ian’s professional career in addiction treatment began by him 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 house for the only Young Persons’ 12 Step Residential
Clinic, at the time, in operation within Europe. It was based in Southwest London, and it was
here that Ian became therapeutically trained, though with an interest in working with family
members alongside the patient, in order to breed enthusiasm and appropriate boundaries.
Ian went on to develop his reputation and position within the national and then 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 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, February 2022. This was his 5 th Rehab, and Holina
Village for Young People in Cyprus is his 6 th .
Ian founded his private practice “Sober Services Global” in 2008 which helped people attain and
maintain recovery from their addiction challenges (typically alcohol and narcotics) by offering
bespoke packages of treatment to individuals and their families 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.
2) Sober Companions / Recovery Coaches, working intensely with individuals to bring about
positive change in their behaviours and their lifestyles, goal focused and led in a peer to peer
manner. This would also include Sober Transportations (nationally and internationally).
Sober Services was a pioneering business in this aspect as it was the first non-North American
company to be offering Sober Transportations, 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 American’s
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 the family want to offer.
Sober Services has also been able to create bespoke treatment plans for families with the
resources to create client facing programmes in multiple cities around the world, bring the
treatment team to the client’s place of residence and in some cases renting a house or villa
specifically for this purpose. It’s an expensive model of treatment, but highly suitable for clients
of certain lifestyle expectations and ambitions for real life recovery.
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 up lifting 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 programmes were “Certified Sober Interventions” and
“Certified Recovery Coaching” for Sober Companions, with “Sober Practitioner” being also
written and designed, and also a shorter “Sober Transporter” training delivered in a half day
training on multiple occasions. He has since delivered trainings in 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) of the The Network
for Transformational Leaders (formally the ATL - Association of Transformation Leaders),
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 practice
and support one another’s endeavours to co-create a better planet for every one of its
residents. Sadly their meetings ceased during the global pandemic of 2020 – 2022 and they
have not relaunched yet.
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 own 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 on managing
all of the Holina brands in multiple sites, including Holina Rehab Thailand, Holina Wellness,
Holina Detox (medical and non-medical), Holina Retreats, Holina Therapy, Holina Trainings, and
the Holina Village for 14 – 26 year olds in Cyprus, in collaboration with Free-Spirit Experience.
He leads his teams from a place of example and loves to help make things run smoothly across
all the Holina realms. He is also the most likely person you’ll speak to if you call up Holina and
ask for help – he is essentially front of house. 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 his time management skills along 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.
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 personal 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.


As the Founder and Senior trainer of Sober Academy, I am a trainer and of Interventions, recovery coaching, sober transport, and sober companions. My Interventions training was the first non-North-American registered training able to certify it’s students. Sober Academy also certified people in Recovery Coaching.

My own education began back in 2001 shortly after I found my own recovery. I’m therapeutically trained and experienced in many disciplines, notably 12 Step Counselling, Motivational Interviewing, CBT, hypnotherapy, and psychodrama, though my go to modality is as a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP).

I have studied all areas of Recovery Specialism but was largely ahead of the curve as the formalities of these trainings hadn’t been developed until I developed them myself.