Pemarro Recovery was founded by Peter O’Leary, Mary Joyce Paullus and Ron Wynn, who felt strongly that there was a need for a more intensive and longer-term program to help those people who, due to factors we now know as co-occurring mental health issues, had a more difficult time recovering and were prone to relapse (then referred to as those “reluctant to recover).
These three friends were passionate and devoted to the treatment of alcoholism and addiction for populations who had been historically marginalized and had lost hope in being able to recover. Pemarro started in a house in Imperial Beach, California before finding its home in Ramona, California (about 30 minutes from San Diego) in 1984.
Residents of the 3-to-9-month program were treated using the CENAPS Relapse Prevention model developed by addiction specialist Terry Gorski. CENAPS is a method of treating addiction and coexisting mental health issues, as well as situational life problems. This holistic approach combines addiction-specific treatment methods with cognitive, affective, behavioral and social therapies. While this model is widely used now, Pemarro was a pioneer in promoting this treatment philosophy.