The “Evolution” Addiction Conference: INTERVIEW with Andrew Martin, SERENE CENTER

What makes the “Evolution” Addiction Conference unique? We find out in this exclusive interview with organizer, Andrew Martin, here.

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Interested in the evolution of addiction treatment? Where we have been, where we are now, and where we are heading?

Check out this Q&A with the organizer of “The Evolution of Addiction Treatment” Conference, Andrew Martin MBA, CADC II, SAP, CA-CCS and the CEO of Serene Recovery Network. Today, Andrew shares some information with us about one of the most interesting conferences on the annual calendar that has recently sprung up in Southern California. The “Evolution” conference encourages professional dialogue on controversial issues, showcases innovative and creative treatment approaches, and offers an overview of the field and its future.

We hope that you will find this interview helpful and encourage you to participate by asking us your questions at the end. In fact, we try to respond to all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt reply.

ADDICTION BLOG: What makes The Evolution of Addiction Treatment conference unique?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: The Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference is unique because it focuses on the most cutting-edge therapeutic interventions and therapeutic techniques while incorporating speakers that use experiential training methods in combination with didactic training methods. The participants at the conference have told me how they appreciate the unique nature of the content of the conference and how much information they retain after attending the workshops.

Another thing that makes our conference unique is that all of the workshop presenters and keynotes are hand selected for their expertise in their profession. We are not a pay for play conference in which sponsors receive preferential treatment for keynote or workshop presentations.

ADDICTION BLOG: How many people usually attend the conference? What kinds of partnerships, collaboration, or innovations have you witnessed as the result of The Evolution conference?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: At our 2015 conference we had 633 registrants attend along with 66 exhibitors.

I am proud to report that the conference registrants rated the overall conference performance at 4.4 stars. We could not make the conference happen if it were not for our major sponsors. Our Premier Gold sponsor Cliffside Malibu, our very special platinum sponsor McMillen Family Foundation, our Gold sponsor Rebos, silver sponsor Willingway, bronze sponsor Center for Healthy Sex, and bronze sponsor Cirque Lodge all help us to produce an outstanding conference that creates tremendous benefit for participants without the salesmanship and constant solicitation found in some other conferences.

We are also proud to collaborate with several other conferences, associations, and licensing and certification bodies who appreciate the quality of the Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference and help us to promote the conference and therefore promote the continued education of their membership.

ADDICTION BLOG: On average, how many CME credits can a person earn?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: Professionals are able to earn up to 27 1/2 continuing education hours. We offer continuing education for many individuals including:

  • Addiction counselors
  • Alcohol and drug educators
  • Certified eating disorder specialists
  • Employee assistance professionals Interventionists
  • Licensed educational psychologists
  • Licensed mental health counselors
  • Marriage and family therapists
  • Nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers

ADDICTION BLOG: What kinds of networking opportunities can people expect?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: I am glad you asked this question. We intentionally schedule a full 10 1/2 hours of conference time that participants can use to peruse the exhibit hall or network with other professionals. Additionally, we host special events in the evenings.

At the 2015 conference, we hosted a gala awards banquet in the honor of Captain Paschal Pat Herman Murphy, Jr. At the Gala awards banquet we honored the Mooney family and Willingway Hospital with the lifetime achievement award, and we honored Beverly Roesch with the McMillen Outstanding Counselor award.

ADDICTION BLOG: What should you bring with you to the conference?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: It is of paramount importance that participants bring with them a well rested body, an attitude of exploration and fun, and a willingness to engage in a unique experience unlike any other conference they have attended.

To say that the Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference is tiring, would be an understatement. As you can imagine, the mental stimulation that occurs during the conference is intense. Participants are being presented with concepts and skill sets that they likely have never seen before. Furthermore, this information is being presented in an experiential way.

ADDICTION BLOG: What kinds of realistic goals should a conference go-er create for herself?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: I think a very realistic goal for a conference participant is to expect a minimum of 6 to 10 takeaways that will improve their interaction with their clients and patients.

We have received so many comments (from clinicians who have attended the conference) that rave about the new skills and therapeutic interventions learned that have had an immediate positive impact on their work.

ADDICTION BLOG: Given that many addiction related conferences take place on the weekends (and can trigger burnout) what kinds of self-care practices do you recommend in terms of pre-conference preparation and post-conference integration? For example, should conference attenders take one day off work on either side of a conference?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: It has been my experience that the unique nature of the learning opportunities at the conference tend to energize the participants rather than fatigue them. What I would encourage the participant to do is to attempt to immediately integrate those skills and therapeutic interventions that seem appropriate for their clients and patients. If the participant can immediately follow through on this newly learned information, the retention of the information will be much greater. And the benefactor of that retention will be those clients and patients.

ADDICTION BLOG: Can you tell us what will be the theme for the 2017 conference and why have you chosen this?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: The current field of substance abuse and addiction treatment has been evolving for almost 8 decades now. During this time, we have seen many important developments as well as many failed experiments. The Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference provides a forum that brings a multitude of forward thinking professionals together with the intention of producing better treatment for those suffering from addiction.

ADDICTION BLOG: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

ANDREW MARTIN, SERENE CENTER: Because the Evolution of Addiction Treatment Conference assembles a very diverse and leading edge group of presenters, the conference has been known as somewhat controversial.

I think it is important that professionals explore all potential avenues of helping those that are afflicted with addiction. I understand that all of the topics presented at the conference will not be accepted by all of the participants. However, I also understand that controversy topics will get people talking, and that dialogue amongst professionals is bound to improve the future of addiction treatment.

I would invite anyone who has an interest in what the future of addiction treatment looks like to attend the conference. Please visit for information on the next conference, and to review what has taken place at past conferences. Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with your audience.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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