Meet the Team Behind A Better Life Recovery
A team composed of passionate, professional individuals from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Our staff includes Therapists and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselors who share the expertise and desire to deliver an unparalleled treatment experience to their patients. The common philosophy and application of our program will guide our clients to form a foundation of sobriety and learn to continue growing on that foundation to establish long term sobriety.
Dr. Richard Granese, MD, MBA Founder/ Medical Director
Dr. Granese is a Board Certified psychiatrist who has been practicing in Orange County since 2005. Very soon after relocating to Southern California he found the need to find psychiatric services available to the public. Prior to forming the ACCESS Mind Institute Dr. Granese was the Medical Director of one of the Orange County Behavioral Health programs. He currently serves as Medical Director for Southern California Psychiatric Associates and Chief Medical Officer for A Mission for Michael, Dual Diagnosis program. He is on faculty at Marshall B. Ketchum University PA School where he enjoys teaching PA student
Paul Stackhouse Founder/ Director of Finance & Administration
Paul Stackhouse is a Registered Recovery Worker who also possesses over 30 years of experience in investment banking, private equity capital, and advising and managing startup companies in a variety of industries. His career experience includes positions as a Senior Vice President with Bank of America and Founding Partner of Frontier Capital, both located in Charlotte, NC. Mr. Stackhouse holds an undergraduate degree in Economics from Harvard University and an MBA, Finance, from The University of Chicago. He is a co-founder of A Better Life Recovery LLC.
David Munce, CADC-II Founder/ Program Director
David Munce is the co-founder and Program Director of A Better Life Recovery. He has been actively working in the field of recovery since 2010 and has held various positions in administration including Admissions Director and Associate Director. He brings with him passion to help others achieve their goals through recovery. His immense recovery knowledge, not only through his personal experience but also his ongoing education in the Human Services field sets him apart as a professional. David takes great pride in his work and holds the utmost ethical standards. His number one priority is helping clients and families on the road to recovery.
Joe Hisel Founder/ Director of Operations
Joe was introduced to the field of recovery in 2012 as a Facility Manager. As Joe's passion for recovery progressed, so did his career. In 2014, Joe became Program Director for a 60-bed facility, which included overseeing transportation and logistics, coordinating admissions, providing crisis intervention, state licensing and CARF accreditation. Joe's dedication to the betterment of others led him to founding A Better Life Recovery. His goal was to create a seamless transition for individuals in early recovery by offering an opportunity to develop essential life skills. Joe understands that recovery can be a tumultuous time for family and the recovering person. His goal is to ease this process. Joe maintains involvement in admission, intake and ongoing treatment to ensure that all individual feel supported and guided through the recovery journey. With the help of his partners, Joe has created a team of experienced, passionate and educated experts to assist in the treatment process. Joe believes that foundation of recovery comes from hard work and he and his team are dedicated to providing the support necessary for the work to begin.
Jeff Robbins Founder/ General Counsel
Jeff Robbins possesses over 15 years’ experience as a practicing attorney. Over the last 9 years Mr. Robbins has served as partner in the firm of Watt Tieder Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP, Irvine, CA where he specialized in litigation. He holds a B.A. degree in English from UCLA and a J.D. degree with great distinction from University Of The Pacific McGeorge School Of Law. Mr. Robbins is a co-founder of A Better Life Recovery LLC.
Dr. Meghan Marcum Program Director
Dr. Meghan Marcum serves as Program Director of A Better Life Recovery in San Juan Capistrano, California. Dr. Marcum’s role is to ensure the highest standard of clinical care for each client. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Arizona State University and a doctorate in clinical psychology from The American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. She completed her pre and post-doctoral training in the specialty field of chemical dependency and has also achieved specialized training in treating traumatic disorders with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Dr. Marcum previously worked in the Neurosciences Institute at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, California where she continues to hold full privileges. She has developed an interest in helping those with co-occurring disorders by examining substance abuse as it relates to neurological changes over the course of the illness.
Cindy Connelly, MFT Clinical Director
Cindy Connelly has more than 25 year’s personal experience in the field of recovery. After many years of management experience in Corporate America, she returned to school to obtain her Masters Degree in Psychology at Chapman University in Orange, CA. Since 1999, she has been in management positions in residential, extended care, and intensive outpatient care, while continuing to maintain her private practice in Fountain Valley, Ca. Her passion and experience have allowed her to develop and oversee treatment programs that directly address issues of alcohol and drug addiction, trauma, eating disorders, and relationship addiction while also addressing dual diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorders. Her dedication to working with both the individual and their families allows her to address the overall wellbeing of each and every client.
Jim Loesch MFT/Therapist
James Loesch, LMFT: Licensed Marriage and Family therapist since 2012.
Masters degree from New York University: 1992.
Counseling/Special Education Masters degree from Pepperdine University: 2002.
Clinical Psychology. Providing treatment for dually diagnosed individuals since 1993.
Jim comes to a better life with over 24 years of hands on experience in the area of dual diagnosis as well as in-patient and out-patient treatment. Jim also spent over 11 years working with at risk youth as well as families and 5 years in the private practice sector working with adults and families.
Mike Wood MFT, Therapist
Mike possesses over 12 years of professional counseling experience, with a particular emphasis on substance abuse disorder treatment. His previous work experience includes positions with My Life Recovery Center, Newport Beach CA, Prive` Swiss/Beau Monde International, Laguna Beach CA, The Brain Treatment Center, Newport Beach CA, and Brookside Institute, Newport Beach CA. He also served on a Crisis Intervention Unit with the Orange County Police Dept. Mike’s strengths include building rapport with patients of all ages and backgrounds while connecting them with their inner talents, strengths, and motivates. Mike holds and M.A. degree in Counseling Psychology from National University in Costa Mesa CA, and a B.A. in Social Psychology for the University of La Verne, La Verne Ca
Alicia Hutton, AMFT Primary Therapist
Alicia is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who has been working in the mental health field since 2016. Alicia obtained a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA and has experience working with both individuals and families. Her dedication and passion for helping others has enabled her to assist individuals as they address the underlying issues that have led them to substance use. “I enjoy helping my clients be the best possible version of themselves they can be at any given moment in their lives.”
Tracie Covey-Borchard, AMFT, PCCI, CATC IV Primary Therapist
Tracie brings over 15 years of experience in substance abuse to A Better Life Recovery. She has been working as an MFTI since 2014, with various populations such as at-risk youth, domestic violence victims, adult homeless individuals, and those who struggle with co-occurring disorders. Tracie has worked specifically as our primary therapist and group facilitator of various process and psychoeducational modalities such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Art Therapy. Tracie received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Vanguard University of Southern California; there after she received her Masters of Arts in Psychology from Brandman University with certificates in Marriage and Family Therapy, and professional Clinical Counseling. As a therapist she finds it important to integrate various modalities while using a collaborative approach.
Lily Braverman MFT Intern, ATR
Lily is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern and a Registered Art Therapist. After receiving her BA in Art from Pomona College, Lily began working in substance use treatment in 2008, through which she discovered the power of humanistic connection in helping others recover. Lily went on to pursue her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University, after which she began to treat substance use disorders, complex trauma, anxiety, and mood disorders in the therapist role. Lily uses education, experiential art and verbal activities, and a collaborative working relationship with her clients to improve their ability to be comfortable with their full range of emotions and stop self-medicating.
Justin Sanchez, CADC SUD Counselor
Justin is a registered recovery worker who has been working in the field of addiction since 2014 as a chemical dependency counselor and case manager. Justin currently holds an associate’s degree in alcohol and drug studies and is currently working towards furthering his education to provide the best services possible to the clients he serves. His personal journey in recovery started over five years ago when he was introduced to a treatment center that set him on the path of recovery by providing him with insight and education into the disease of addiction and assisted him in developing the tools necessary to live a clean and sober life. As a result of his own personal experience in recovery, Justin developed a passion for helping others better their lives and takes great pride and responsibility in his role of assisting clients down the path of recovery in their pursuit of a better life.
Victor Georgesco, CADC II Case Manager
Victor is certified through CCAPP as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He received his certificate and Associate's Degree in Alcohol and Drug studies from Saddleback College and began employment in related fields since 2014. Through extensive work with substance use related difficulties, Victor has developed a strong sense of compassion and empathy towards the suffering that problem use has created for each individual. He embodies the core belief that anyone who struggles with addiction has the potential to stay sober. With thorough ethical background and diligence on continued education and exploration of the factors that contribute to substance use problems, Victor continues to strive to make recovery a reality for everyone who has a desire to change their life for the better.
Debra White, CATC I SUD Counselor
Debbie has worked as a certified addiction counselor for over 12 years. She has worked with various populations and help positions as a program director, clinical supervisor, counselor, and jail liaison for inmates in need of an opportunity to live a clean and sober life. She has also taught Addiction Studies for addiction counselors at Intercoast College. She has also lectured at Loyola Marymount College and Cyprus College. She currently sits on the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California. Debbie’s strengths are her passion, compassion and helping those in need of support and guidance through the journey from addiction to recovery. Always ready with a smile, she is widely regarded as a wise mentor for both clients and fellow counselors.
Patt Ochoa, CADC II Group Facilitator
Patt Ochoa has more than a decade of personal recovery experience. Working with adolescents and young adults, he has been a Program Coordinator, Drug/Alcohol Counselor, Alumni Coordinator, as well as Program Director for local treatment centers in Orange County, California. Patt got sober October 23rd, 2002 and his passion for helping those seeking and/or in recovery was the driving force that propelled him to follow his dream as co-founder of OCTLC, Inc., Sustain Recovery located in Irvine, California. He became involved in working with young people by putting on dances and conventions for them throughout the west coast. He travels to conventions and meetings across the United States speaking to thousands of people in recovery and spreading the message in Orange County High Schools with a message to help prevent kids from using drugs.
Joshua Hamburg, CADC-CS, ICCS Group Facilitator
Josh is caring, compassionate and willing to go above and beyond to help our clients. He has experience in managing the key functions in a behavioral health residential system including counseling, group facilitation, staff and human resources, marketing and growth initiatives, state and accreditation compliance, financial management, utilization and admission flow, and creating an atmosphere of productivity and passion. Josh began his journey in the recovery world in 2013, overcoming his own addiction and entering the profession. He immediately began his education, graduating from UC San Diego with a degree in Addiction Studies, Saddleback College with a degree in Psychology, and is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology at California State University, Fullerton.
Tim Jalowiec CATC IV Case Manager
Tim has worked in the field of substance abuse treatment for 12 years, and his experience includes residential, as well as, hospital treatment. He has a Master’s of Divinity degree from Talbot School of Theology and has served as a Pastor. He also holds a CATC-IV certification with CAADE as a substance abuse counselor. Tim’s specialties include Codependency, Grief and Loss, Development of Personal Insight and assisting Christian clients to reconnect and grow in their relationship with God; helping them learn how to integrate faith with recovery. He enjoys teaching and facilitating groups, as well as, working with clients in a one on one setting. Tim is happily married to his wife Lori, has four grown children and a granddaughter. Tim has also been an active member of Celebrate recovery for over 17 years, serving as an open share group facilitator and a Step Study leader. He also enjoys reading, writing, curriculum development and cycling.
Corey Richman Director of Admissions
Corey joined the Better Life Recovery Team in 2015. He has over 4 years experience in the Recovery field and possesses more than 10 years’ experience in management, strong leadership skills and exceptional work ethic. Corey is emotionally invested in helping others, whether it be his staff or our clients. Corey is a graduate of San Diego State University, with a major in Business Management Technology and a Minor in Business Administration. His personal ties to the recovery and the loving support he provides to our community have made him a valuable asset.
Mark Georgeson Operations Manager
Mark is a long time resident of Orange County, CA. He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1992 with a B.S. in Liberal Arts. He brings his passion for education and 20 years of corporate America experience to our family. Mark is often the first face a client sees. Mark oversees the residential component and all logistics that apply to the day to day operations of A Better Life Recovery. Mark brings a level of compassion and safety that is critical to foster the transition into ABLR treatment and equally important in the transition or reintegration as a client's treatment plan dictates. Mark is well versed in many modalities of treatment and is constantly evolving to provide solution and support to staff and clients alike. Mark is a passionate and consistent presence in the recovery community and a proud and active member of A.A. He is a loving and present father of two who has been blessed by The Promises of sobriety. He lives by the code of, "to keep it you must freely give it away
Garry Larabee Quality and Compliance Director
Garry Larabee is a reputable Professional Consultant in the field of Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Health Care. He has earned several field-related certifications in addiction treatment counseling, clinical supervision, co-occurring disorders, and continues to pursue additional credentials as a certified professional in Healthcare Quality and Joint Commission Accreditation. Garry holds active memberships with the National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California (ACCBC), the American Addiction Treatment Association (AATA), and a Board Member of Great Eastern Behavioral Partners.
Since 2001, Garry gained experience in administrative and clinical supervisory roles in the addiction treatment industry gaining a wealth of knowledge in the business of effective and efficient recovery services. In 2012, he realized his value and applied his diversified skills to a niche practice consulting for behavioral health care providers. He has since successfully assisted over twenty new organizations in business startup and licensing and certification in residential and outpatient treatment from the Department of Health Care Services. Furthermore, his consulting services have resulted in several Joint Commission and CARF initial accreditations and follow-up readiness improvement plans. He has formed several quality provider resource relationships that he shares with his clients.
Garry's expertise is in Quality and Performance Improvement, Regulatory Compliance, Accreditation, and Continuous Readiness. His role at A Better Life Recovery is to ensure standards compliance with State DHCS licensure and certification, Joint Commission Behavioral Health, and Commercial Payer Medical Necessity Criteria guidelines. In the process, Garry will bring a practical perspective to the development and application of proven Quality Assurance and Management concepts supporting the organization's strategic plan of raising the bar in the addictions treatment industry. Garry's commitment to the industry continues with his work at A Better Life Recovery, a program highly endorsed for their ongoing dedication to improving quality, safety, and ethical business practices. This type of environment is where Garry's expertise thrives. He honors the opportunity to be included in the mission and vision of A Better Life Recovery and its team of qualified and competent healthcare professionals.
Billy Mara Compliance officer
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Billy Mara joined the staff of A Better Life Recovery in July 2016 after deciding that he wanted to follow his longtime passion: to help and serve those in need. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Billy obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Law in 2013 and moved into an administrative position at Boston University. It was after relocating to California and undergoing his own journey of self-discovery that Billy decided to join the ABL team so that he can help addicts, alcoholics and those with a dual-diagnosis to discover their potential. As the Director of Safety and Environment of Care Billy ensures compliance with the requirements that the Joint Commission outlines to ensure that A Better Life Recovery continues on its path to becoming the premier destination for substance abuse treatment and providing outstanding, quality client care.
Jeffrey Farbman Billing Manager
Jeffrey has been working, volunteering and studying in the field of mental health and substance abuse for several years. He has an unyielding passion for helping others struggling with mental illness and substance-use disorders. Jeffrey studied psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has extensive experience and knowledge in the realm of behavioral health, from both clinical and administrative paradigms. Jeffrey's passion and drive for helping others has led him to our administrative department where he manages our billing and financial operations team. Jeffrey works closely with insurance companies and advocates on our client's behalf to ensure that everyone has a chance to get the treatment and the “better life” they deserve.