Adam Yorty: Mission Accomplished

Adam Yorty: Mission Impossible Accomplished!

This month CORE is losing a valued member of our recovery team, Adam Yorty.  For nearly five years Adam has been an integral part of our organization while teaching CSR classes and serving as a house manager.  Adam also volunteers time to our Second Mile program.  Unfortunately, Adam has been called to return home to Florida because of family obligations.  He has a parent suffering from an auto-immune condition who has taken a turn for the worse.  We’re sad that he has to leave but wish him and his family well and pray for a return to good health!        

Readers may recognize “Chef Yorty” from his recent appearance on the cover of Discover Home & Style’s summer issue.  In only four short years Adam — unintimidated by celebrity-chef restaurants in and around Table Rock – has made the Pour House in Hollister more popular than them all.  He’s no stranger to celebrity status either.  One of his eateries was once inducted into the prestigious Fine Dining Hall of Fame while he was at the helm.  He’s rubbed plenty of shoulders with greats in the fashion industry too, having worked with Ralph Lauren, Karl Lagerfeld, and others.

For all of his successes, Adam had a weakness that dogged him for 35 years.  Every achievement in life and career was ultimately countered by John Barleycorn.  For decades he lived in a cycle of saying goodbye to alcohol, clawing his way back up the ladder of success, and then crashing and burning in the most spectacular binges imaginable.  There were lots of rehabs and detoxes along the way. Over and over, all of his achievements were wiped out by monumental drinking excesses.  Eventually he lost his wife and child, and parents, too. 

Five years ago, however, something happened.  He was talking on the telephone with his daughter, Emeline, who was coming of age and old enough to understand what’s what.  She realized he’d been drinking again, and she began to cry.  The incident left a deep and lasting impression on Adam.  Upon weighing his options, Adam decided that CORE “was the best bet.”  Although he had failed many times before, he didn’t want to drink again.  He was a man on a mission again, but this time without any ulterior motives. As he told us:

I did not set out this time to get a wife back, to get a daughter back, or to get anything back.  It was not my plan.  My plan was to do what is asked from the Big Book and see what would happen.  Although still a skeptic I said, I’m going to do this. I was being humble.

Adam began thoroughly working the Steps.  His 5th Step was done with our own Ray Francis and lasted eight hours.  The obsession lifted completely, at which point things indeed started to happen for Adam.  As examples, he began teaching CSR classes and running a CORE house.  A fortuitous turn of events also landed him in charge of the newly opened Pour House, which Adam made short work of turning into one of the most prominent restaurants in the tri-lakes area.   

Adam gives CORE due credit for his recovery, saying: 

CORE has been very important.  It gave me all the tools I needed and gave me hope.  CORE does not give up on people.  There’s care, compassion, and love here.  The Steps and my relationship with God are so important, but I don’t think I ever would have truly accepted them without CORE’s guidance.  It was the bridge that helped me understand.  

Most importantly, Adam got his daughter back in his life, along with his parents and brother and his family.  He’s friends again with his ex, too.  Having the people he cares about back in his life is what’s most important to Adam.  In fact, as our conversation flits from topic to topic, Adam brightens considerably while talking about Emeline, who now is a 22 year-old opera phenom wowing audiences as far away as New York.  Adam sees her every chance he gets, and they stay in frequent contact while she’s away at school.  We were curious exactly where in her bloodlines such talent originated.  We’ve seen some of her performances on YouTube and she’s amazing.  Adam just shrugged his shoulders and smiled.  There’s no singers in his or her mother’s family, but he’s plainly proud of her and excited about her future.  

We will miss Adam and wish him the very best in his endeavors.  He will carry the message of recovery wherever he goes.  We’ve had the privilege of having him with us for almost five years.  Now it is time for him to trudge the road of happy destiny with others.  May God bless him and keep him safe.

“I’m At CORE! Now What?”

“I’m At CORE! Now What?”

New clients are warmly welcomed at CORE.  This is a special place!  But like all new places, it takes time finding one’s bearings.  To help ease the transition, we gathered the inside scoop from CORE leaders who’ve successfully completed our one-year program.  We asked them questions that a newcomer might wonder upon arrival, to wit: “What’s the first thing I need to know?” and “What’s the most important thing to remember?” The responses, set forth below, cover things that every newcomer will want to know in order to get involved and succeed:

“At first things may seem big and imposing, as if you’ve been dropped off at a small campus.  So you’ll have this or that class to be at, or you’ve got a van to catch at this particular time.  The feeling lasts for about two weeks until you settle in. Things will calm down after that, so give yourself that time to get into your groove.  Also, stick with the winners.  You’re here for a reason.  Surround yourself with those people who are solid in their recovery, who are doing the deal and happy to do it, and you’ll succeed.”

– Cary McKee, Chief Executive Officer

“First and foremost, be at class, pay attention, and get with someone to work the Steps.  That’s where recovery happens.  If you won’t work the Steps, there’s no point of even being here.”

– Kevin Hunt, Program Manager

“This is a hand-up program, not a hand-out.  It requires work on your part.  It requires book work.  It requires you wanting a different outcome in your life.  That’s not done by somebody giving you something, but by you taking it and doing it.”

– Gary Osborn, Operations Manager

“Get with someone who is doing the deal — working the steps — and find out how you can work them too, because this program will change your life.”

– Tami McKinney, Human Resources

“Be honest, open-minded, and willing. Honest to everyone including yourself, and mostly yourself. Open-minded to receive instruction from the Big Book and the people who live it.  And willingness to do anything in the world to change your life.”

– Janet Weaver, Financial Manager

“Remember the day before yesterday, all of the reasons why you came here in the first place — always.”

– Bracy Sams, Site Manager, Springfield

“Work your Steps. We’ll hound you all the time about it, but freedom is on the other side of that. Practice living in the solution while you’re still in a safe environment.”

– Kim Stewart, Women’s Coordinator

“Stay humble and remember where you’ve come from.  Don’t lose sight of why you’re here.”

– Brandi Blom, ReStore Manager

“In running your own life, you didn’t do the best job. Turn the reigns over to someone who knows better: God.”

– Neil Finley, Transportation Manager

“Work the 12 Steps. Whatever else happens, work the Steps.”

– Marty Neal, Men’s Admissions Coordinator

“Keep God No. 1.  And lean on your wise counsel — your house manager, the girls who are working the program — and follow them.  Let them lead, guide, and direct you through the program.”

– Jen Brinkmann, Women’s Admissions Coordinator

“Your showing up and making it through these doors is an answered prayer. Stay humble, be grateful, give each day your best, and let God do the rest.”

– Matt Goehrig, Operations Assistant

“Remember why you’re here, your purpose for coming through the door.  Don’t ever forget it.”  

— Adam Guss, Transportation Manager

“Find God and do your steps. Without God, the steps are just steps. Go by the rules, too, and don’t cut corners, because it’s only a year.”

– Kelly Creson, Maintenance Manager

Nicole Nelson: The Messenger

Nicole Nelson: The Messenger

This month we talked to our own Nicole Nelson!  She commenced our program last May.  Recently she also was invited to become a member of our Second Mile benevolent group.   Having worked her steps, Nicole has discovered a new freedom and new happiness.  She further knows serenity and has found peace, but it was not always this way for her.  

She was abandoned by her parents as a newborn and grew up with an unshakeable sense of having been thrown away like garbage.  She asked herself the same questions such children normally do: why they didn’t love her, what she did wrong, and what was wrong with her.  Nicole grew up feeling disconnected, and she suffered a deep sense of being empty and alone.  Thus, at the age of only 23, she had already checked all of the boxes one might expect of a child who grows up parentless: living in poverty, with four children out of wedlock, and deep into alcohol and drugs.  

Tragedy begets tragedy.  In an aimless search for the missing piece from her soul, Nicole fell headlong into a very bad crowd.  Tragically, one of her children died when her drug dealer went on a rampage.  He and his crew invaded many houses, including Nicole’s, looking for missing drugs but found nothing.  A struggle with one of her captors ensued while she tried to escape with her children.  In the scuffle her one year-old, Cayden, fell to the floor and suffered fatal injuries.  The police arrived to find Nicole out of her mind with grief, having nearly beaten her assailant to death.

Her surviving children were removed to safe homes by protective services.  “The DFS said that I was an unfit parent, that I would never have my kids again.  I just gave up, thinking there’s no point, and started using.  I fell off on heroin really bad.”  She told us about several hospitalizations too:

They said that I went crazy after what happened with the kids.  I was stuck in torment for an entire year.  I couldn’t hold a job down, function, and was completely overwhelmed with grief.  When I would get clean for a couple of days, it all came back and I would go crazy again.  I didn’t want to feel anything.”

Finally, an old friend told Nicole about CORE.  She came to our Springfield program and, after an initial false start, returned and started working the 12 Steps.  She also began volunteering her time back to the program.  During our interview Nicole expressed her gratitude to CORE for sticking with her and helping save her life:

CORE gave me a home when I didn’t have a home.  They allowed me to work on myself and have mistakes, and they still accepted me.  I’m blessed.  It’s why I give back.  Everybody else gave up on me, but CORE never did.  Even when I messed up the first time they didn’t turn their backs on me.  They continued to help.  They saved my life and showed me the way out.

While working her steps Nicole processed some bitter resentments, against her assailant (who’s serving time in prison), herself, and God.  Two months ago, however, Nicole became ready to publicly show her commitment to God and was baptized!  Her morning routine now includes reading from her Bible and getting on her knees next to her bed to pray.  Likewise, at the end of each day, Nicole gives thanks to God.  “I really don’t ask him for anything,” she said, “like before, I would say please do this, or help me, but now my prayers are ‘thank you.’  I can’t be more grateful for Him showing me life out of the darkness that I was in.

Nicole has also discovered that she can be a powerful witness for God.  The Big Book says that our experience can benefit others “no matter how far down the scale we have fallen.”  She recently realized just that when she gave her testimony at Joplin’s Lafayette House.  Nicole later learned that one of the ladies in attendance had contacted CORE and specifically mentioned her testimony.  “I’ve done something so bad.  I didn’t appreciate how it might help others,” she said.  Energized by the experience, Nicole has committed to helping teach our CSR recovery classes.  She’s nervous but is preparing and feels up to the challenge.  

CORE is very happy and proud for Nicole and her progress with the program.  We wish her the very best in rekindling loving bonds with her children again.  We have every confidence that she will inspire and help clients with their recoveries.  Above all, we look forward to her being with us as long as she can in the future!

What It Means To Be Recovered

What It Means To Be Recovered

When we think of recovery generally, the idea of getting over an illness might come to mind, as may a return to health.  With respect to drugs and alcohol, similar thinking about recovery has prevailed until relatively recent times.  In fact, there is confusion today about what even constitutes recovery.  Some providers unfortunately are redefining recovery to include dependency on narcotic substances, or even planned intervals of intoxication.  The reasons for this unfortunate development are many but, as a result, the sufferer’s prospects for quality of life are inevitably compromised.  Clients and families are left wondering whether they can ever be made whole again, and for good reason.

At CORE we won’t water down recovery.  We advocate the 12 Steps.  Our clients do find recovery, and we expect the same results for everyone who works our program.  We are happy to tell potential clients about the quality of recovery that they can and should expect.

Recovery means nothing less than finding new life apart from drugs and alcohol.  An entire emotional rearrangement happens inside where old ideas, emotions, and attitudes are replaced with a new set of healthy conceptions and motives.  In recovery we become imbued with a profound sense of freedom, hope, and happiness.  We find release from care, boredom, and worry, and begin to live with meaning and purpose.  As the Big Book figuratively puts it, we find “much of heaven” and are propelled into a “fourth dimension of existence.”  The essential condition, of course, is that we work the program.  We must trust God and clean house in our lives.  Although our substance abuse problem is beyond human aid, with God’s help we can and do fix it.  

Once we recover, we also begin moving toward becoming the best version of ourselves.  We find (a) honesty, (b) abstinence, (c) a spiritual life, (d) emotional health, and (e) gratitude.  


Working the 12 Steps demands rigorous honesty.  It extends to every aspect of life, but it begins by getting honest with ourselves.  We may have been rational and well-balanced with respect to other problems, but when it came to drugs and alcohol we were powerless.  Our personal experience amply proved this, certainly to our friends and families, and this admission to ourselves was crucial if we were to live at all.  Moreover, our inability to control our use essentially left our recovery to one alternative, complete abstinence.  


Recovery must include freedom from all drugs and alcohol.  In our illness we pined for these substances like lovesick adolescents.  It was a genuine obsession – we couldn’t imagine life without them.  This obsession is lifted through working the 12 Steps and committing to live a spiritual life.   Once recovered, we can safely go anywhere business calls or to social functions without any temptation to use.  The Big Book variously calls this process of release a “psychic change” or spiritual “awakening” or “experience.”  Regardless of nomenclature, it solves the drink and drug problem.  

Spiritual Life

We also commit to living by spiritual principles because we begin to understand that our problem runs deeper than simply alcohol and drugs.  Our selfishness, manifested in various ways, had defeated us in other aspects of life too.  We had to free ourselves of pride, self-pity, dishonesty, and self-seeking motives if our health was to be restored.  Accordingly, we relied (and continue to rely) upon God to remove from us all things that are objectionable.  We make progress here, not perfection, yet the results are nothing short of miraculous.  The release from our obsession thankfully happens, but obviously not on our own power.  We had a common experience with the original Big Book authors.  We realized “that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.”  This is a great mystery of the 12 Step program to outsiders.  To us who are recovered, however, it is a great fact, and nothing less.  

Emotional Health

Living by spiritual principles promotes emotional health.  We invariably find ourselves living in a new and wonderful world.  It may seem incredible that we are able to rise out of such misery and bad repute, but we live happily, respected, and feel useful once more.  More often than not we mend broken or damaged relationships with family, friends and employers.  We return to the stream of life and find productivity again.  We are able to dream of the future with hopes for tomorrow.  Indeed, we feel reborn.


A deep sense of gratitude emerges in our hearts, too.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” takes on genuine meaning.  For us it is a pointed call to carry a message of hope to suffering alcoholics and addicts.  It takes effort, of course, and may mean the loss of many a night’s sleep, or even interference with our personal lives and businesses.  We are happy to do it, knowing that a Good Samaritan once reached out and helped us.  Frequent contact with newcomers and our group also becomes a bright spot in our lives.

In sum, we think the foregoing better outlines recovery, where our attitude and outlook upon life changes, and we live with contentment and purpose apart from alcohol and drugs.  This isn’t an extravagant promise.  We see it every day.  It happens for everyone who works the 12 Steps.