The Incredible Recovery of Todd “Z-man” Zalkins, Part Iii


This is the third and final part of the series The Incredible Recovery of Todd “Z-Man” Zalkins. Read part two here.

Saving lives is exactly what Todd Zalkins does these days. It’s what he has dedicated his life to. When asked about the most rewarding part of his life after addiction, Zalkins once again answers without hesitation. “Hands down, it’s to inspire and motivate other addicts to recover, whether it’s speaking to a crowd of hundreds at a college or working one-on-one with a guy I sponsor.”

Zalkins is tireless in his mission, and the success he found in the insurance industry before his addiction robbed him of his ability to function has followed him into the field of addiction recovery.

Now a state-certified drug and alcohol counselor and master interventionist, Zalkins is founder and CEO of The Four Keys, Inc., an organization that addresses four key areas of recovery: action, awareness, recovery and connection.


Taking action is the very first step to recovery. For those who are addicted, action means getting into a treatment program. For those who love someone who is addicted, it means getting their loved one into a program.

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But how do you help someone who doesn’t think they need help or who doesn’t want help? The answer is an intervention.

Professional interventionists provide an essential service for families experiencing addiction, including helping them find a reputable treatment program for their loved one. Zalkins’ organization works only with high-quality facilities that offer a superior level of clinical and therapeutic care.

Zalkins and his team pride themselves on matching individuals with a treatment program that will meet their unique needs. For those with a co-occurring mental illness, this will be a dual diagnosis treatment program. For those with a history of trauma, it will be a program that offers trauma-informed treatment.

Zalkins’ All-In Interventions has a 90 percent success rate in getting the addicted person into treatment. “When it comes to intervention, I love it when the family gets to exhale,” Zalkins says. He points out that families, too, suffer when their loved one is addicted. “Of course, I want the addict or alcoholic to get into recovery—that’s the primary focus—but the family needs to heal, too, and I love to see them on their path to getting well just as much.”


Zalkins developed and facilitates a two-day workshop for people who are in treatment to motivate them in their recovery and inspire long-term success. Day one of the workshop kicks off with a viewing of The Long Way Back, followed by a session where Zalkins shares his experiences. He helps the group understand the importance of sponsorship, mentorship and having a detailed recovery plan. The first day ends with an offering of practical and solution-oriented tips on navigating physical and emotional triggers for relapse.

The second day of the workshop finds participants sharing freely about their lives, fears, triggers and whatever else is on their minds. Participants cultivate tools for sober living and come to really understand that recovery is a lifelong process of change.

Zalkins helps them understand how to build a solid foundation for sobriety and offers practical tools for living sober and managing expectations. The workshop ends on an inspiring, hopeful note, helping participants realize that they’re not alone, and they can break the bonds of addiction and find freedom in a life of purpose and meaning.


The Nowell Family Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Zalkins and Brad Nowell’s father, Jim “Papa” Nowell, is scheduled to open a treatment facility in 2018. What makes this treatment program special is that it’s dedicated to serving male musicians who are suffering from an opioid addiction but who have no health insurance and lack the financial resources for treatment.

Bradley’s House, which will be located in San Juan Capistrano, will offer complete medical detox as well as research-based clinical and therapeutic services for a holistic approach to treatment and recovery.


Zalkins’ larger-than-life personality, tinged with humor, honesty and warmth, makes him a natural storyteller and an effective and engaging public speaker. Zalkins inspires audiences around the world, speaking at high school and college campuses, treatment centers, corporations and private events. His motivational message helps to break the stigma of addiction, which prevents many from seeking the help they need to recover.

The Z-Man Podcast is another way Zalkins connects with others in recovery. Available on iTunes, his podcasts are brutally honest, deeply moving and often utterly hilarious as he interviews the pals and peers who continue to encourage, inspire and motivate him in his continued recovery.

Roots Through Recovery Welcomes Zalkins

During our interview with Zalkins, we asked him about being a featured speaker for Roots Through Recovery’s one-year anniversary celebration on February 6. Why did he choose to partner and work with Roots?

“I like the people there,” he says, pointing out that a treatment center’s success starts with its infrastructure. Zalkins says he is well acquainted with Roots’ executive director Eric Johnston and Johnston’s previous successes in the treatment field. “He has assembled an awesome team of loving and compassionate people. If you’ve got that happening, you’re going to be able to offer a high level of care to people in need,” he says. Zalkins also notes his experience with Roots’ CFO Kelly Elmore and others. “As an interventionist, it’s critical to trust who you work with. And I have a very high level of trust with the people at Roots, which is why I choose to work with them.”

The feeling is definitely mutual. Roots Though Recovery is proud to count Todd as a friend and welcome him to our facility to talk about the painful realities of addiction and the long, hard—but ultimately rewarding—road to recovery.

As we enter our second year of helping addicted individuals in Long Beach reclaim their lives through real and meaningful change, we can’t think of a better person to inspire hope in others who are struggling with the disease of addiction. As Zalkins himself will tell you from personal experience, anyone can recover, even if the odds are stacked against firmly against them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction in Long Beach, don’t hesitate to seek help. Rehab and detox facilities like Roots Through Recovery have programs that can help you combat addiction as well as any co-occurring conditions. Roots Through Recovery facility in Long Beach is easily accessible via South BayCatalina Island, and Orange County. Visit 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807 or call (866) 766-8776.

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“I am so grateful to be an alumni of Roots. Roots took me from my darkest of places, to the brightest and most beautiful part of life I've ever lived. They genuinely care about their clients. You will not be a number or a paycheck here. After discharging in February, I still receive help and words of wisdom whenever needed. Roots helped me battle things I'd been struggling with for over 14 years and finally put them behind me. I love roots with all my heart, and always will.”


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