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A Word from our Founder…

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About Our Team

Sarah Lewis-Fernandez, LCSW, LCAS, CASAC, CT

Family Therapist

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.


Jessica Potter-Bowers

Program Director

Jessica’s wandering career path led her to Ember Lodge through her passion for mentoring others and her experience running programs in the mental health and addiction fields. She studied Spanish, Public Relations, Environmental Education and Restoration Ecology. Jessica  is experienced in responding to crises and is an instructor for both Red Cross CPR/First Aid and Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. She brings her honest, laid-back communication style to work with her and is working to master the art of giving and receiving feedback.


Jessica is originally from Cary, NC and has lived in Sevilla, Spain and Seattle, WA. She is the proud and playful mother of two young children and the well-fed wife of a chef. Jessica loves to read (mostly historical fiction), garden, swim, and go on adventures. Her claim to fame, especially with children, is that her grandfather’s name was Harry Potter.

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.

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"Our Story" with Bekah Puccia

Bekah and Jäger

Kathie Miller, MS LAc.


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.

Laura Brier

Recovery Mentor

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.

Alexis Rachkovsky

Recovery Mentor / Shift Support

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.

  • Read More . . .

    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.

Sharon Dubuc

Holistic Food Educator

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.

Chelsea Klumpp

Recovery Mentor

Chelsea has a lifelong passion for creativity. With a focus in ceramics, she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University. Currently she is working toward her Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate through the state of North Carolina. She is passionate about helping others and looks forward to growing into the mental health field.


Chelsea has lived in Asheville for the past five years; she volunteers at a local yoga studio and promotes live music for several venues. Throughout the summer, she enjoys traveling to the many waterfalls surrounding Asheville. She always has an art project in the making and loves spending time in the kitchen. Her passion is helping others to embrace their own creativity and offer new ways to express those ideas.

Laura Esmond

Recovery Mentor

Laura is a massage therapist who is dedicated to helping others find their health using natural methods, like nutrition and embodied thinking. She is a nature and animal enthusiast and is committed to building community. Through volunteerism, yoga and qigong practice, and making art, Laura has found a positive outlook on life and she loves to share this positivity with others.

Makayla Lechnowskyj

Recovery Mentor

Originally from San Diego, Makayla began her career helping others as Certified Nursing Assistant in a Traumatic Brain Injury unit. From here, Makayla obtained her Bachelors Degree in Nursing and worked as a Registered Nurse in Neurological ICU, Trauma, Oncology, and End of Life Care.


Since moving to Asheville, Makayla has become dedicated to obtaining her Substance Abuse Counseling Certification. Beyond this, she is trained in Reiki, Healing Touch, Crisis Intervention, and is a Peer Support Specialist.


Makayla believes strongly in a Hollistic approach to addiction, which combines multiple modalities of support and treatment to heal the body, mind, and soul. Her education as a Nurse has given her an understanding of the psychological and physiological natures of addiction which she strives to share with others. Her own recovery has shown Makayla how long and sometimes dark the road to recovery can be, and that with dedication and support we can all find our way back to the person we are without addiction.


When not working with others in recovery she enjoys rocking climbing, meditation, painting, and hiking with her dogs.

Emily Kozusnik

Recovery Mentor

Emily grew up in Miami, Florida and moved to Wilmington, North Carolina with her family when she was ten. After needing a change of scenery, she moved to Asheville when she graduated high school to experience the mountains for the first time. Emily is a Senior at UNC Asheville who will be graduating with degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. Following her graduation, she plans on going to grad school to further her education. Emily also interns at another substance abuse center in the Asheville area. She is an empath who seeks to provide those around her with warmth, encouragement, and compassion. In her free time, Emily likes to doodle, go to shows, and cook delicious food.

Carleigh Holley, CSAC-I

Recovery Mentor

Carleigh originally hails from northeast Mississippi and still remembers the first time she laid eyes on the Blue Ridge Mountains, knowing it was a place she would return to. After spending some time in the desert, she found herself driving across the country to make a home in western North Carolina in August of 2017. Carleigh studied Sociology and Outdoor Recreation at Asbury University, and has an extensive background in outdoor behavioral health, experiential education, and direct care staff for inpatient substance abuse treatment. She is honored to walk beside people as they heal and believes in the power of turning adversity into something beautiful. Carleigh is passionate about being a safe place for others, writing, self-care, and paying attention. She spends her free time hiking with her rambunctious pup, Bowie, gardening, rock climbing, reading, learning new things, and quoting “The Office.”

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