Early Years

In 1969, a small group of dedicated men and women founded Impact House. The simple, but powerful, principle of one addict helping another stay clean unified our team during those early days of leaky roofs and spotty funding. Treatment was a new concept back then—usually it was jail, the streets, or a hospital for anyone struggling to overcome the powerful force of addiction. Even then, Impact was a great advocate for alternatives to prison and jail. Our staff was (and remains) passionate about providing a space and the proper support for individuals to change their lives.

Middle Years

As Impact grew up, the same folks that founded the organization began adopting innovative ideas to treat addiction. This included highly structured programming, principled curriculums that emphasized responsibility and integrity, and a no-nonsense approach that challenged the client’s entrenched ideas about living in addiction. After a move to Pasadena, the facilities were enlarged, the staff professionalized, and the client population grew to include men and women from all walks of life. Family services, aftercare, and transitional housing became key features in the Impact continuum of care.

Impact Today

Today we are licensed by the State of California, nationally accredited by the Joint Commission, and our clinical staff is certified or registered with the state and trained in the most up-to-date therapeutic techniques. We offer a number of specialized, evidence-based individual and group counseling therapies. Our family services are extensive, we provide longer term treatment utilizing outpatient and aftercare programs and we make transitional housing available to those seeking to remain in a supportive living environment while they return to work and/or school.

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Our first sign—design by client who was a tattoo artist. Today Client artwork is featured throughout the facility.
Founders and employees: Left to right: Richard Stachelek, Senior Counselor + Bob Domingues, first Development Director +  Stu Tooredman, Senior Counselor – was to become longtime Clinical Director, Ben Weidenbener, Impact founder and its first Executive Director + Jim Stillwell, Intake officer, now Impacts current Executive Director + Ed Burke, Impact Founder and Assistant Director + Bob Espinoza, Impact Founder and Senior Counselor.
Garage being built by staff and clients. Big project—still stands today.
Some of our founders and earliest employees and managers. Looking into the future.
Volleyball in the parking lot – Short shorts and knee socks –popular in 1978—still popular today!
Clients and staff laying brick for the redesigned courtyard area around 1989.
One of our first Celebrity Golf Tournaments! Featuring Mickey Rooney and comic Jack Carter!
Early artwork brochure—all by hand.
People Magazine article introduced the country to Jim Stillwell and Impact.

Drug Court Programs

In 1995, the Los Angeles Municipal Court chose Impact to be the first treatment provider for the newly established Los Angeles Drug Court. Impact’s drug court program continues to be a model (Mentor Court) for drug courts throughout the United States. Impact now has an additional Municipal Drug Court Program in Pasadena and in the Superior Court of Los Angeles. Impact also operates two facilities inside the LA County Jail system, treating men and women who have been sentenced to a jail term due to their substance use.

Our Dedicated Director

Jim Stillwell enrolled at Impact 43 years ago as a struggling heroin user. He dropped out twice before finally getting clean once and for all. In 1980, Jim was named Impact’s Executive Director and has made it his life’s mission to provide quality care to anyone suffering from addiction. “As a recovering addict myself, I’m completely behind anyone trying to get a foothold in a drug-free way of life through treatment.” Although Impact has grown substantially under Jim’s leadership, there is one thing he keeps constant at Impact because it continues to keep him and many other people with addiction clean to this day: the principle of one addict helping another addict stay clean.

45 Years Later

Impact Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center remains committed to its core mission of helping the people with addiction get clean and sober at a low cost. Nearly all of our staff are graduates of Impact—from our executive leadership to our clinical and support staff, many of whom have over 30 years of experience. The success of Impact’s program is due to the fact that its staff have shared, and therefore understand, many of the challenges experienced by its new clients. By understanding these challenges, the staff are able to effectively support and guide the clients toward a life free from drug and alcohol dependence.

Learn More About Impact