John Whitaker

About John Whitaker

John WhitackerJohn O. Whitaker, Jr., CATCii, SUDCC is the clinical director and CEO of Paso por Paso, Inc. He is proud of his more than 25 years as a person in long-term recovery from all mind-altering substances.

To the ME generation and the over 45 crowd, Mr. Whitaker, or Johnny Whitaker is best remembered for his work as a child star in such series as, “Family Affair”, “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” and his starring role in films like Disney’s “Napoleon & Samantha” and “Mystery in Dracula’s Castle”. Johnny (as he is known to his fans) also gave two-time Academy Award winning actress Jodie Foster her first on-screen kiss in their film, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” where he played Tom to Jodie’s Becky Thatcher.

After a successful career in show business, at the age of 16 Johnny was forced to slow his career when his TV Sister Anissa Jones, “BUFFY” died of an alcohol and drug overdose at the age of 18.

Shortly thereafter, Johnny left show business to serve a mission to Portugal for the LDS Church and upon his return, got married and planned on a wonderful life. Unfortunately, that was short lived as a nasty divorce, a friend’s suicide and subsequent depression helped take this Mormon Boy Scout and Household name from Choir Boy to Crackhead in a matter of a few short years. After dealing drugs and joining “The Dark Side”, as John refers to it, his family held an intervention and John was introduced to the programs of Recovery.

After five years, John and his Spanish-Speaking friends in recovery recognized a need for “special and individualized treatment” and a new passion to help others suffering from the same mental health disorder of Addiction. John graduated from the Pierce College Department of Addiction Studies, and after a year of interning became a Certified Addiction Treatments Counselor.

John went from the sublime to the ridiculous starting at a High-End Malibu Treatment Center then to the now defunct, People in Progress which helped the homeless and formerly incarcerated populations. John then worked at the Tarzana Treatment Centers and lastly worked as their community liaison and Substance Use Disorders advocate. John has also worked more than 7 years as a DUI Consultant and Educator.

John is fluent in six languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian and ASL. John’s unique interest and respect for language and culture make him a requested counselor, group facilitator, teacher and public speaker.

Currently, John is not only the President and Clinical Director but works closely with and was on the Board of Directors for the Nationally recognized pain in the side of Big Alcohol, Alcohol Justice, an alcohol industry watchdog. Paso por Paso, Inc. is a proud member of CAPA and LA DAPA that work trying to keep the alcohol industry and their practices at bay. As such, John has presented before National, State and Local representatives on issues important to Mental Health, Jail & Prison reform and other problems associated with and including Addictive Diseases & Disorders.