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Our Staff

nathan_newNathan Cermelj, BBA

Owner/Program Director

Nathan was born and raised in Arizona. After a fairly worry-free childhood, Nathan found himself trying drugs and alcohol in his mid-teens. After graduating high school, Nathan’s drug and alcohol use spiraled out of control landing him in jail, drug treatment programs and eventually ended up being homeless. Years of continued drug abuse would continue to push him down further until there was literally nothing left.

In 2005, Nathan had come to the end of himself and finally hit rock bottom. He moved to Prescott, Arizona where he started his journey to recovery. He started to immerse himself in the 12 step fellowship, hoping to repair the damage of his past and grow into the person he wanted to be.

Since September 15, 2005, Nathan has been in recovery and life has continued to get better every step of his way. In recovery, Nathan met his now wife Jasmine, earned both his Associates degree and Bachelor’s degree, bought a home and most recently welcomed his son, Remington, into the world.

Nathan has been in the recovery treatment field for the last 4 years. He has worked as a group therapist, client advocate specialist, admissions director and program manager. Nathan’s personal success in recovery gives him the ability to empathize with those entering the Liberty Bay Recovery Center program. His understanding of the disease and where it can take you gives him the ability to help those trying to break the cycle of substance abuse and show them that there is a different way to live and it can be attained by anyone who works for it.

jasmine_newJasmine Cermelj, RN

Owner/Director of Administrative Operations

Jasmine was born and raised right here in the beautiful state of Maine. A champion state swimmer, a good student and a hard working young woman, Jasmine decided to pick up her first drink in her late teens. After going off to college to pursue her educational pursuits, she had to drop out as her drinking and eating disorders were putting her into emotional distress and daily physical torture.

At the young age of 20, Jasmine began her own journey to recovery by entering a 90-Day program for men and women just like herself. Jasmine dug her heels into the program and started to reap the rewards as she got a job, went back to school and started to make a life for herself. January 4, 2005 was Jasmine’s last drink and since then she has become a registered nurse, bought a home, got married in her home state and most recently had her first child, Remington Bennett Cermelj.

Jasmine started her road to recovery as a restaurant server in a small cafe and in her early years of recovery, worked her way up to Utilization Review Department Manager where she managed dozens of peers and advocated for clients entering into treatment programs across the country. Having her own personal daily recovery program, Jasmine has a great advantage to help young women entering our program discover that they are worthy of a great life too. Jasmine is dedicated to ethical client care and is thrilled to be a part of the recovery process of men and women entering Liberty Bay.

lynnLynn Avigo

Clinical Supervisor

Lynn has worked as an addiction counselor and case manager for 22 years in Maine, and in Alaska. As the Clinical Team Leader at Milestone Foundation, Inc. in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, she has developed and implemented a 16-bed long-term residential Therapeutic Community for adult males characterized as late to final stage alcoholics/addict. In 2001 she was the recipient of the State of Alaska Counselor of the Year Award for her founding management of in-house substance abuse programs for men and women in a jail and medium security prison in Kenai and a maximum security prison in Seward. Bolstered by her years of experience, and a strong team of treatment professionals willing to take the leap with her, Lynn’s decision to take advantage of an opportunity to create a therapeutic community in the Cumberland County Jail demonstrated her abiding passion for bringing about real, practical results in people’s lives. Lynn is committed to providing men and women who are searching for recovery the tools needed to do so in a compassionate, balanced approach.

scott_newScott Davis, M.D.

Medical Director

Dr. Davis is an Internist and American Board of Addiction Medicine Specialist. He is also recognized as an Addiction Medicine Fellow by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. For over 20 years, Dr. Davis has treated patients with substance abuse and addiction in all phases of treatment. He completed his medical school training at Boston University in 1991 and then went onto completing internal medicine residency in 1994. Dr. Davis practiced Internal Medicine for 12 years prior to completing an Addiction Medicine Fellowship at Loma Linda University in Southern California. He then continued as Inpatient Medical Director for over six years at the world renowned Betty Ford Center in California. Dr. Davis successfully started one of the first inpatient Suboxone detoxification programs at the Betty Ford Center. When he relocated to Maine in 2010 he served as the Addiction Medicine Director for Penobscot Community Healthcare in Bangor, Maine. He has extensive experience in opioid detoxification and medication assisted treatment with both methadone and Suboxone. Over the years, Dr. Davis has continued to provide treatment to patients with co-occurring chronic medical and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Davis resides in South Portland and travels to Virginia to visit family whenever possible.

ron-smith_newRon Smith

Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor (LADC)

Ron is credentialed as an LADC (Licensed Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counselor). Ron has an extensive 20 year history as a counselor treating individuals with addiction/behavioral related issues. Ron is passionate about the work he does with individuals and has acquired not only counseling experience as a professional but has also established a personal philosophy for “being of service” to the clients he serves. Ron has worked extensively in residential treatment, outpatient as well as in the prison system and Department of Corrections with a number of addiction related modalities. His personal passion lies in interpersonal and high intensity group work in the Therapeutic Community. Ron is also a licensed cosmetologist and is employed part-time barbering at a county jail. He has been a sound technician for over 35 years and continues to be active in this area.

chloe-arreola_newChloe Swerdlow

Director of Admissions

Originally from Seattle, Chloe relocated to New England to attend a women’s substance abuse retreat after years of battling drug addiction. Several years of chronic relapse followed, and only after hitting a series of devastating consequences was she able to surrender to the process of recovery, and weave the 12-steps into all areas of her life. Progressively, the quality of her life improved, and today the gifts of sobriety are abounding.

Acceptance around changing careers from the restaurant industry, that fueled her addiction for years allowed her to discover a new passion. She began working for The Milestone Foundation, both in the men’s wet shelter and the H.O.M.E Team, where she provided outreach and resources for Portland’s homeless population. In January 2016 she decided to make the move to Liberty Bay, where residents are actively and desperately trying to get sober.

Her compassion for others and passion for sobriety helps her to connect, engage and assist clients in taking the first step to achieving a life in sobriety through the admissions and referral process.

brittany_newBrittany Cole

Compliance Officer

Brittany grew up in Bethel, Maine and relocated to Portland three years ago. She has various experience in professional office administration and is excited to be a part of the Liberty Bay team. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, and plans to continue her education in business. After observing many people close to her struggle with addiction, she recognizes the growing demand for rehabilitation in Maine, and has a passion to help others successfully meet their goals of sobriety. In her free time, Brittany enjoys playing disc golf, being on the water, and spending time with family back home.

tommy_newTommy MacElhaney

Primary Therapist, LADC

Tommy was born and raised in Massachusetts. He began using drugs and alcohol in high school. In college, he began using Oxycontin and Cocaine heavily. Shortly after graduating from St. Michael’s with a BA in Sociology, he was enrolled in his first Suboxone program and residential treatment center.

From 2006-2012 Tommy ended up in various treatments including; psych and drug institutions, suboxone and vivitrol clinics, 12-step programs, and 12-step retreats. He eventually got sober in 2012 and brings his own experiences in treatment and in recovery to Liberty Bay.

He began working in the mental health field in 2013 and has worked in several residential programs in the community. He used his experience to achieve a Certification in Alcohol and Drug Counseling. Through his own 12-step work and AA fellowship, he has discovered his passion for connecting with others and offering them the solution they desperately need to their addiction problems.

nic_newNic Pfenning

Primary Therapist, CADC

Nic was born and raised in Massachusetts, and moved to Portland, Maine over six years ago. When Nic was 16 years old, he started to experiment with different substances like prescription pills and cocaine. Shortly after, Nic was significantly addicted to Oxycontin and cocaine. The next few years of Nic’s life consisted of constant substance abuse, interventions, attempts at different types of treatment, and a lot of pain. On July 28th, 2010 Nic was separated from drugs and alcohol for the last time and has been sober now for over 6 years. Engaging in 12 step fellowship and community has lead Nic to a life of purpose and freedom. Throughout sobriety, Nic has gained five years of experience working in the substance abuse field from starting out as an in-house peer leader, to becoming the director of a well-known program in the Portland area. Nic also has experience in the mental health field working at an agency for adults with several mental illnesses in the Portland area. After working in the field long enough, Nic decided he wanted to gain an educational background in substance abuse and become a counselor. Last year Nic graduated from a local school in south Portland called Inter-coast, and shortly after obtained his CADC. The problem of addiction/alcoholism is only growing in our communities and Nic’s goal is to play a significant role in the intervention and prevention of that problem.

bridget-semler-treatment-care-coordinatorBridget Semler

 

Treatment Care Coordinator/UR Specialist

Bridget was born in Maine and had a rather unpredictable upbringing. She grew up moving around the USA with her single mother and brother, eventually settling back down in her home state as an adult. Since she was very young she has felt a calling to help others who are suffering. Bridget has been working in Social Services for a decade. She’s worked with the homeless community, at-risk youth, and folks dealing with severe mental illness. She is also passionate about music and performs in multiple bands, and has lead a number of songwriting workshops with at-risk youth. Her own experience in recovery has played a vital role in both her musical expression and her ability to connect and empathize with our clients. Bridget is our Case Manager and our Family Liaison. She also works with our clients after they transition from our 90-day program to our re-entry program, ensuring that they get necessary tools and support to acquire jobs and reintegrate back into the community. Bridget became a part of the Liberty Bay team in September of 2016. Her mission is to support, assist, and advocate for our clients as they begin their path to a new way of life. Bridget is grateful every day that she can be of service to fellow addicts in recovery, and hopes that her own experience will help remind and inspire clients that there is a wealth of possibility ahead, and that after a lot of hard work, their struggle can one day turn into an incredible gift that they can help others with.

cameron-gibson-crma
Cameron Gibson

CRMA

Cameron was born and raised in Puyallup, Washington, He had a normal upbringing with loving and caring parents. During his senior year in high school he began experiment with drugs. He eventually started using pharmaceuticals, heroin and methamphetamine as his addiction progressed. In 2014 Cameron entered his first drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

Over the years Cameron was in and out of treatment centers in Washington state. He tried countless times to get sober but continued to fall short. His last stint of drug abuse he had called various treatment centers desperate for help. He was eventually turned to Liberty Bay Recovery Centers. Cameron attended Liberty Bay for 90 days of treatment followed by 90 days of aftercare treatment and has been clean and serene since July 13 2015. He has since become an employee of Liberty Bay Recovery Centers as a grateful House Manager and CRMA and couldn’t be more amazed by the life he is able to live today.

bryan-rosa-crma
Bryan Rosa

CRMA

 

 

 

 

 

Liberty Bay Recovery, Leslie Briggs, Admissions Coordinator

Leslie Briggs

Admissions Coordinator

Leslie was born and raised in Massachusetts.  Throughout her adolescent years she always felt she had to be better, and do better than her peers.  This type of behavior, both positively and negatively followed her into her early 20’s.  She attended Mitchell College in New London, CT where she was very successful in a decorated soccer career.  Unfortunately, this is when Leslie found herself experimenting with drugs to try to fit in.  Prescription pain pills and Heroin took over her life in 2010.  She was unable to finish college and thus started her countless trips to detox, rehabs, IOP’s, suboxone maintenance clinics, vivitrol shots, broken relationships, depression, and thoughts of suicide.  In 2014 Leslie was broken and tired.  She was given an opportunity to move to Portland, ME where she dove into the steps and broke away from her selfish behaviors.  Leslie has been able to maintain her sobriety since January 28th, 2014.  She continues to work a program in the 12 Steps of AA, keeping her sobriety as her first priority.  She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Liberty Bay team, where she gets to work with individuals on a daily basis who come in just as broken and desperate as she once was, and leave Liberty Bay with a new-found outlook on life.

Lara Nordenson, Liberty Bay Recovery Center, Yoga InstructorLara Nordenson

Yoga Instructor

After 15 years of being away from her home state Lara finally decided that it was time to come home to Maine. During her time away from Maine Lara traveled the world and earned her BA in International Studies at UCSD. After graduation Lara was hired by Church World Services to work alongside the United Nations and USCIS where she spent three years in Africa as a Humanitarian Aid Worker specializing in refugee crisis and assisting victims of torture, trauma and persecution. Lara is driven by her passion for working with at risk and underserved populations worldwide. After 3 years in Africa Lara moved to Los Angeles where she studied yoga and completed her 500-hour teacher training certification. Lara continued her work with refugees interning at IRC and working with a local Somali organization while running her own yoga studio in Santa Monica, California. Shortly after volunteering as a yoga teacher on skid row Lara got a job working as a full time Case Manager at Lamp Community helping the chronically homeless find and sustain housing. Throughout her work in Africa and the US Lara worked with populations of people struggling with addictions and suffering from trauma. Lara has combined her experience as a humanitarian with her work as a yoga and meditation teacher and offers classes that cater to each individual’s battle with addiction, depression, anxiety and trauma. Currently in school at UMASS medical Lara is studying to teach Jon Kabat Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction as a tool to help people in recovery. Working at Liberty Bay is truly a dream for Lara as she has the opportunity to offer recovery oriented yoga and meditation in both group and one on one classes catered to the specific needs of each individual.

Cathy Cline

Administrative Lead

Cathy grew up and lives in Southern Maine with her husband and two daughters. She graduated from Biddeford High School in 2001 and has spent over 11 years in the administrative field. Most recently, she worked at a law firm for several years helping indigent clients with various criminal cases and family matters. Because of this position, Cathy has observed many people who struggle with addiction and mental health and is excited to continue helping people in the community overcome their addiction problems and get on the path to recovery. In her free time, Cathy can be found traveling the country supporting her two daughters cheering competitions.

Isabella Nelson

Support Staff

Isabella was brought up in Long Island, New York in a loving, supportive family with three older sisters, and two caring parents. Although she had a normal childhood, Bella began feeling different than her peers when she entered high school. She started to drink and drug to try and fit in but it only made things worse eventually leading her to use self-harming coping mechanisms. Shortly afterward she was admitted into her first treatment center located in Connecticut. She learned to stop using self-harm as a way to cope but did not learn how to stop drinking. As her senior year in high school went on, her addiction got worse and lead her down the path of using cocaine along with heavy alcohol use. She went to more treatment centers trying to find a solution but every time she tried, she would somehow end up back where she started and even worse. Finally, on April 22nd of 2016, Bella decided she was not going to put drugs and alcohol into her body and she was going to find a better solution. She went into treatment across the country in Southern California for three months and when she graduated she decided to learn about the solution that many had found in Portland, Maine. Bella has been sober ever since. She has helped many women along her journey and wants to continue to share her passion for recovery with many more.

Chris Miner, Liberty Bay RecoveryChris Miner

Support Staff

Christopher was born and raised in Massachusetts. He had a great childhood and supportive family. During high school Chris started drifting away from positive influences and got involved in oxycontin, drinking and cocaine. He dropped out of high school and quickly spiraled out of control. He began using IV heroin and cocaine. The next 8 years of his life were riddled with homelessness rehabs and institutions. He ended up finally willing to give recovery a shot in early summer of 2015 and stuck with it. He ended up moving to Portland, Maine to continue his recovery and growth. Today he continues to carry on his message of recovery and help others and is grateful to be able to revolve his job around it at Liberty Bay.

Damien Gilbert, Liberty Bay Recovery Damien Gilbert

Support Staff

Damien was born in Portland Maine then moved to Florida and came back to Portland Maine when he was in grade school. His troubles started around this time, he was attracted to the wrong things, started getting into trouble with the law and started using substances. He lived this way for 20 years in dark Places, with no hope, no purpose, and no direction. He realized he had to change everything about myself a complete make over from the ground up. June 24th 2015 (sobriety date) he was at his rock bottom again and was incarcerated and hooked on Heroin and using bath salts. When released the first step in my recovery was to ask for help and this was something he was missing in my life. When released he went into a 12-step structured sober living house for 10 months, a self-governed sober house for 6 months, got a sponsor and started working the 12steps. He started to volunteer and started to help others. He acquired the tools to learn and deal with life in a positive manner and start taking ownership for his part in things and changing these things. Since being in recovery he has managed a Sober House, worked at a Recovery Center, working towards my associate’s degree in human services in Behavioral Health and help structure a peer support program that works with inmates in the county jail. He has his 13-year-old daughter in his life now and in good standing with my loved ones. He now feels and has purpose and direction in life and still to this day use the people and resources to help me. He enjoys working at Liberty Bay because it keeps it fresh. Being around the guys enables me to do some service and sharing through my experiences and give hope and help somebody else. It’s like a family here!

Teresa Cobb, Liberty Bay RecoveryTeresa Cobb

Support Staff

Theresa was born and raised in Portland, Maine she started using marijuana and alcohol in high school, which quickly escalated to opiates. After a number of serious consequences, which included losing custody of her two boys, Theresa found herself homeless with nothing left.

 

As her life spiraled out of control, friends and loved ones convinced her to enter an out of state 12-step program.  Grudgingly she entered that program.  Ultimately, she was able to admit to herself what so many already knew: her life had been out of control and she need to change. With a lot of hard work that included a few set-backs, she learned the power of working the steps, following suggestions of those who came before her and putting her faith in a power greater than herself.

Now, she readily admits she’s an addict and an alcoholic.  She has a supportive community of sober people.  And she is thrilled to have her life, and her children back.   As part of the Support Staff at Liberty Bay, she feels blessed and happy to give back, to be able to share her experiences and offer hope to anyone who wants a new way of life.

Erin Lovejoy, Liberty Bay RecoveryErin Lovejoy

LCSW, CCS

Erin was born and raised in Maine and has lived most of her life in the greater Portland area.  She earned her Master’s of Social Work degree from the University of New England in 2000, and she is licensed as an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and a CCS (Certified Clinical Supervisor).  She has worked as a case manager, a therapist, an admissions director and as a clinical supervisor in her career.  She has had the honor of witnessing many people in both her personal and professional life struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues and overcome incredible adversity.  She believes that recovery and wellness are within reach for everyone, and that it is important to address a person’s whole life in order to help them make meaningful, sustainable change.

Ashley Haskell, Liberty Bay RecoveryAshley Haskell

Support Staff

Ashley was born in Portland Maine and raised in Acton Maine. She had a good upbringing in a rural area horseback riding and hanging out by the lakes. Eventually she turned to drugs and alcohol in high school, experimenting with Oxycontin, cocaine and heroin she had some troubles in school but eventually got her GED. She was in and out of detoxes Ashley fought and was losing to her addiction. She then turned to the Methadone Clinic, but soon wanted a better life for her and her son. She went to Operation Hope on November 9th 2015 and ended up in Liberty Bay Recovery Center that day. Nathan Cermelj met her at Operation Hope and helped work with her around getting her off of Methadone and clean and sober. Her sobriety date is November 18 2015, she completed the 90-day program then went on to do the aftercare program Liberty Bay offers. She stayed in Re-entry for 7 months at the women’s sober house, completing a total of 10 months at Liberty Bay and now has become an employee at Liberty Bay.

CJ Michaud, Liberty Bay RecoveryCJ Michaud

Support Staff