I feel so blessed to have had the most amazing experience of my life while in treatment and continuing on through sober living and aftercare. In my late 20’s, I could not stand to look in the mirror. I couldn’t stand to look my loved ones in the eye and see their disappointment in me. After nearly ten years of being broken with addiction, I had the sudden revelation that if I continued the way I was, my life would surely end. The joy that I had once felt for every day had somehow been lost. I was completely consumed by getting and using, getting and using. I had destroyed my relationship with my family, and I shamefully avoided all my friends that mattered most.
I was in a wilderness therapeutic program for just shy of 90 days. At around two weeks in, I began to love the things that once brought me joy. These things were hard to discover, because they had been gone for so long.
I started to draw. I started to play guitar and sing again. I wrote some of my most important journal excerpts of my entire life during this time. I started to let people in. The friends I made there are some of my best friends today. I have seen them become nurses, enter school to get their PhD to become doctors, held their hand after their first child was born and watch them become the most amazing mothers. You see, addicts are not weak. We are not ignorant. We were just at one time sick, but we’re getting better.
My sober living aftercare protected all that I learned in treatment. I was not ready to be on my own. It took me a long time to get as bad as I was, and it was going to take a lot of help to get me out, one day at a time.
I have spent nearly the last 6 years of sobriety getting back what addiction took away from me. I have worked in the recovery field in many areas, including direct care at multiple primary treatment programs, bedside in a psychiatric unit as a certified nursing assistant, and more recently working with clients and families as an admissions counselor for a young adult program.
My life now is something I would have only dreamed of having years ago. The rewards of my recovery keep coming daily. It only gets better and better, and I anxiously await to watch this process happen with the young women of Ember Lodge.
This way of life has become a dream come true. I am forever grateful for my gift of sobriety… but as we learn in recovery, the only way to keep this gift is to give it away.
Amber has been a part of the Ember Lodge journey since the beginning. She is currently working towards her Certified Substance Abuse Counselor certificate through the state of North Carolina, as well as achieving a bachelor’s degree in Business Law and Administration at Western Carolina University. She is currently a licensed massage and bodywork therapist in the state of North Carolina. Amber has been employed in the recovery industry for six years and has experience working in a trauma treatment center, wilderness treatment center, transitional living and a residential, therapeutic boarding school. Amber has a deep passion working with those in recovery from addiction and traumatic life experiences. She has overcome much through her own journey and has been in recovery for almost seven years. She brings an empathetic, empowering and holistic approach to her work with clients and strives to communicate to each that they are perfect, whole, complete and matter in this world in their own unique way.
Amber has been in the Asheville area for over four years and enjoys hiking, running, yoga, live music, socializing and volunteering with women in early recovery in her free time. Amber is originally from rural Northern Virginia and has a deep passion for nature and the Blue Ridge mountains. She has a uniquely special dog named Chica who often accompanies Amber in her daily activities.
Sarah is a compassionate and experienced therapist. She began her professional work in 1995, specializing in the treatment of substance use and trauma with individuals and families. She has practiced in Brooklyn NY, Miami FL and Asheville NC and maintains licensure in each of these states. Beginning as a credentialed substance use disorder counselor, later gaining an MSW, and in 2007 Sarah became a Certified Traumatologist.
Sarah provides therapeutic support and trauma treatment for individuals and families in an outpatient setting. Due to being in practice for an extensive time, she is able to incorporate a wide variety of evidenced based practices in traditional relationship centered therapy. Sarah is also able to employ TIR and EMDR as effective and complimentary trauma focused interventions. Attachment, boundaries and effective communication in relationships, especially for adoptive children and families that have had crisis, is an integral part of her assessment and treatment process.
Even though it has been over 20 years in clinical practice, she remains honored and humbled by the trust and vulnerability that occurs in the context of the therapeutic relationship, especially valuing the process of witnessing the growth and development of individuals and families.
Originally from the coast of North Carolina, Laura made her way to Asheville in 2011 for sober living through residential treatment. The amazing sober community of Asheville facilitated her sobriety. With the stability gained from sobriety Laura successfully worked in management for five years. Now she is pursuing her education. Laura’s ultimate goal is to obtain a master’s degree in counseling. While studying at the University of North Carolina Asheville, Laura works part time as a recovery mentor. With six years of sobriety, Laura enjoys sharing her experience with our clients and guiding them along their own path. When she’s not otherwise occupied you can find her hiking around Western North Carolina, usually with a pack of dogs in tow.
Kathie completed her undergraduate education in English Literature from the University of Michigan before earning her Master’s from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, CA. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine. She has been working, studying, and training within the health field since 2001.
Currently in private practice in Asheville, Kathie is board certified by the National Commission for Certification in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and holds licensure in North Carolina by the Acupuncture Licensing Board. Her areas of interest include women's issues, anxiety and stress disorders, musculoskeletal and neurological conditions and pediatric wellness. She continues to further her training by attending seminars in her field, specifically in the area of vibrational sound healing through Acutonics, a health system based on the use of sound frequencies that is steeped in Taoist philosophy and Classical Chinese Medicine.
She lives with her husband Tyson and two sons, and enjoys spending lots of time with them exploring rivers, sitting on mountaintops, creating music and taking in the natural and cultural beauty of Asheville.
Janet Frost was born and raised in central Florida. Janet began her career as an EMT for Pinellas county and later Wake County EMS. After four years, she made the transition to youth advocate at a domestic violence shelter. Feeling called to the mountains, Janet made the decision to move to Asheville and accepted a mentor position at girls therapeutic boarding school. Over the years, Janet has learned how to cultivate and tap into a sense of inner peace which allows her to be fully present with others during times of stress. Janet is an artist and dreamer. She loves to explore the woods, wildcrafting and connecting with others through creative expression.
Ashley is a hypnotherapist who is dedicated to helping others find lasting freedom from suffering. She has been exploring and practicing many healing modalities for the last 20 years and is always finding fun and expressive ways to share these practices with others. Making art and staying deeply connected to nature are two of her favorite ways to maintain a joyful and playful relationship with life.
Sharon Dubuc teaches our Nourishment in Recovery groups, working with the women in the kitchen and the garden to build a strong, positive and empowered connection to food. She believes in the inherently therapeutic power of food, whether seed or dressed plate, as an integral part of the healing process in Recovery. She draws on her experience as a chef and farmer to both educate and inspire the women she works with. When she is not teaching, Sharon enjoys shepherding her flock of sheep, feeding her family and walking in the woods.
Lace Jayne Spencer is a behavioral health technician, mixed media artist, and student of psychology who is pursuing a life long career in mental healthcare. Miss Spencer's background in the study of social science and the humanities informs much of her philosophy. Lace attended New College of Florida for fine art and world religion. She was introduced to the transpersonal model of psychology and holistic health during this time. Lace returned to formal education to advance her knowledge of psychological theory and intersectional sociology. Miss Spencer has most recently earned an A.A. from Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College’s transfer program. She began working in the recovery community post-graduation to supplement her continued academic commitments with real-world experience and certification. Lace has supported clients in both inpatient, and step down recovery programs for substance abuse/addiction, disordered eating, and co-occurring personality, and mood disorders. Lace offers compassion, motivation, and accountability for each client as they build a foundation of self knowledge, and masterful resilience to carry into the future. She is honored to contribute to the incredible team and mission of Ember Lodge.
Alexis Rachkovsky is occupationally trained as a clinical healthcare strategist and holistic yoga teacher, with an academic background in psychology and neuroscience. After attending the College of William and Mary and graduating from the University of North Carolina Asheville, she embarked on a career in integrative medicine at Sanesco International, an Asheville based biomedical company that helps identify neuro-hormonal imbalances in patients with anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia. Alexis provided clinical support and education to medical practitioners and helped increase awareness on the clinical effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical management options and functional testing.
Alexis has a lifelong commitment to enhancing her personal knowledge of integrative medicine, nutrition, and mind-body-spirit methodologies in order to help support, educate and inspire others towards a healthier lifestyle. Understanding the physiological and psychological health benefits yoga had on her own life, she was led her to pursue yoga more in depth in northern India, where she completed her training at the Kailash Tribal School of Yoga and Holistic Healing in 2017.
A calling for bringing more compassion, connection and creativity into her professional life brought her to Ember Lodge, where she is able to utilize her skills to help people on a more direct and personal level.
She loves preparing nutritious and delicious food, has cooking experience in fine-dining, and has instructed mindfulness retreat groups on the preparation of healthy and creative vegan meals. Alexis has been fortunate to call Asheville her home since 2009, and loves spending her free time dancing, hiking, gardening, creating art and spending time near water.