About Us
Realization is the first step in your recovery to building a new life.

Realization Center opened its doors in 1984 and has become one of the oldest and largest programs in New York City. The center has been offering all levels of care from partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient to individualized group therapy.

Licensed by the New York Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, we serve a wide range of clients including impaired professionals, adult and adolescent substance abusers, LGBTQ+ individuals as well as dually diagnosed and HIV positive clients. Realization Center is also approved to treat mental health issues for people with a past history of substance use disorders but who are not currently struggling with an active addiction.

Our Mission
True Recovery...

Is the healing of the human spirit. It is the recognition that we not only have the right to live, but the right to be happy. It is the ability to have a successful work life and satisfying relationships with family members and other loved ones.

People who have reached the state of true recovery feel comfortable with their parents, and siblings, find that parenting is an attainable skill not a mishmash of confusing feelings and responsibilities, and enjoy friendships based on mutual delight and sharing of intimacy, not a pained connection.

True Recovery...means being able to experience all the joy of life without dread or a fear that it will end, and that it’s too good to be true." -Marilyn J. White, CASAC, NCAC II, Founder of Realization Center

Our Approach
At Realization Center we believe in you until you begin to believe in yourself.

We specialize in health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, sexual trauma and, as necessary, family of origin issues, domestic violence, anger/stress management, school or job difficulties, co-dependency, family conflict, parenting difficulties. We can also help with DWI and court mandated substance use issues.


Realization Center accepts insurance coverage through most major medical and union health-care plans. In addition, Medicaid and Medicare are accepted. 


With over 85 groups a week at both facilities, Realization Center offers unparalleled flexibility: Monday – Friday 8:30am – 9:00pm and Saturday 8:30am – 2:00pm, crisis intervention, onsite 12 step meetings and programs for families and loved ones. Our multi-disciplinary team of professionals including Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselors, LCSW’s and LMHC’s assures quality care in a safe, supportive environment.

Meet Our Leadership Team





Founder and Co-Owner

Marilyn White founded Realization Center over 40 years ago to fulfill her dream of helping the underserved population struggling with addiction. In the 1980’s these individuals included the gay and lesbian population. Many who were diagnosis HIV positive and unable to access treatment without stigma and shame. Over time the center grew to include two outpatient locations in Gramercy Park, New York City and downtown Brooklyn. Today Realization Center’s multi-disciplinary staff compassionately treats individuals who struggle with addiction, chronic relapse, adolescent, young adult and mature population focused issues, and the dually diagnosed.

Marilyn opened the doors of Realization Center with dedication, compassion and commitment. She has worked with thousands of addicts and hundreds of addiction clinicians, MDs, residents, interns and social workers in her 40 years in the field. She has devoted her time, passion and most of her life to acting as both a champion and an advocate for those struggling with issues of addiction.

Marilyn never forgets her own journey from addiction to recovery. Her goal in creating the center has always been for every addict in need of help to have access to treatment. She can be found in the Center daily devoted to helping people committed to recovery and desire to lead fulfilling, productive lives. Her commitment can be felt and seen by clients and visitors alike on their first visit to Realization Center.

Marilyn was honored in 2013 with the Caron Foundation Addiction Professional Award.
In January 2024, Marilyn celebrated 50 years of sobriety.

Marilyn J White 02/11/1940 – 06/12/2024.  Her legacy lives on!



Co-Owner and Director of Food
Addiction Treatment Program


Co-Owner and Director of Food Addiction Treatment Program

Dianne joined forces with Marilyn White in 1988 to actualize the development and expansion of Realization Center. Dianne, a CPA in her first career, is now a seasoned clinician and because of her recovery and the suffering that comes with food addiction, her interest and passion is food addiction recovery.

Dianne developed the True Recovery Food Addiction Treatment Program at Realization Center and has been offering a 15 week lecture series for all clients on the relationship between their eating behavior and their alcoholism and/or drug addiction, how their eating affects their sobriety and potential for relapse and how it all began. Over time, as the reputation of the Food Addiction Treatment Program grew, individuals who had eating problems and did not use alcohol or drugs came into the program, and realized treatment success in food addiction recovery. Dianne’s book “It’s Not Broccoli, True Recovery From Food Addiction: is an outgrowth of that series.

Dianne can be found in the Center daily devoted to helping people recover and lead fulfilling, productive lives.

The Big Book of True Recovery from Food Addiction and Beyond, Now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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Co-Owner and Executive Director


Co-Owner and Executive Director, LCSW-R, CASAC 2

As the Executive Director at Realization Center, Shelly White leads with a wealth of experience and knowledge having earned her master’s from New York University Silver School of Social Work. She began her career over three decades ago, with a credential in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling from the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports. Over the years, she has contributed her expertise in various settings including private practice, training and supervising addiction professionals, inpatient detox, and outpatient treatment. After a brief hiatus, Shelly returned to the field, driven by a desire to carry on her mother's legacy, mission, and vision.

Realization Center stands firm as a pillar of hope and transformation, providing invaluable support to all who seek help. Under Shelly's skilled leadership, the team is inspired to deliver exceptional services, ensuring the center continues to exemplify hope and positive change. With strong leadership in place, there is confidence in the organization's ability to continue making meaningful impacts and fostering positive transformations in the lives of those it serves.

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Medical Director
M.D., M.S.


Medical Director, M.D., M.S.

Diplomate of the ANPN in General Psychiatry

Diplomate of ABPM in Addiction Medicine

Dr. Achmad is a prominent psychiatrist, specializing in individualized, evidence-based medicine across various settings including inpatient, outpatient, and emergency care. He boasts a rich educational background, having earned a B.S. in Human Biology from the University of California, San Diego, followed by an M.S. in Pharmacology from Tulane University. Dr. Achmad continued his medical education at Tulane University School of Medicine, where he obtained his M.D. He completed his residency in General Adult Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where he served as Chief Resident and received the prestigious Arnold Winston Award in Resident Achievement. Dr. Achmad's commitment to excellence is evident through his dual board certification in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. He focuses particularly on psychotic disorders and addiction medicine in young adults, employing a comprehensive approach to patient care. Dr. Achmad's expertise and dedication make him an invaluable asset to the Realization Center and the field of psychiatry as a whole.

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Chief Financial Officer



Chief Financial Officer

Richard Turner, Realization Center's Chief Financial Officer, brings nearly 15 years of healthcare finance expertise to the table. His comprehensive skill set spans finance, accounting, compliance, revenue cycle management, and HR, driving positive transformations and fostering organizational growth. With a background in startup ventures and high-growth healthcare entities, Richard prioritizes both employee and patient satisfaction. A North Carolina State University alumnus with a degree in Business Management and Accounting, he seamlessly blends academic insights with practical proficiency to navigate complex financial landscapes, ensuring organizational excellence.

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Clinical Director
CASAC Advanced


Clinical Director, CASAC Advanced

Wilda serves as an exceptional pillar of the team at Realization Center, holding the position of Clinical Director. With over two decades of dedicated service, Wilda has become a revered figure in clinical care, showcasing unwavering commitment to supporting those in need. Her compassionate leadership has fostered positive change and growth among both staff and clientele, enriching the mission with expertise and passion. The team is grateful for Wilda's invaluable contributions, which continue to enhance the lives of all touched by her care and mentorship.

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Director of Emotional Support


Cooper, the esteemed emotional support dog at Realization Center, plays a pivotal role in providing therapeutic assistance to individuals. As an integral member of the team, Cooper's presence offers comfort and support to those navigating various challenges. Interacting with Cooper often brings solace and companionship to individuals, contributing positively to their overall well-being. Cooper's unwavering dedication to his role as a therapy companion embodies the commitment to holistic care and underscores the importance of animal-assisted therapy in promoting emotional wellness.