MEET OUR STAFF

Real. Life. Treatment.
Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, PH. D., LCSW-R

Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, PH. D., LCSW-R

Co-Founder, Chief Clinical Officer

Dr. Kardaras is an Ivy-League educated psychologist, an internationally renowned speaker, and one of the country’s foremost addiction experts. A former Clinical Professor at Stony Brook Medicine where he specialized in teaching the neurophysiology and treatmnet of addiction, he has also taught neuropsychology at the doctoral-level and has worked closely in developing clinical protocols with Dr. Howard Shaffer, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and the Director of their Division of Addiction.

He has appeared on ABC’s 20/20, Good Morning America, the CBS Evening News, FOX & Friends, NPR, Good Day New York and has written about addiction for TIME Magazine, Scientific American, Psychology Today, Salon, The NY Daily News, and FOX News, and has been featured in Esquire, New York Magazine, VICE, and Vanity Fair.
Considered a leading expert on young people and digital addiction, he is the author of “Glow Kids” (St. Martin’s Press, 2016), the seminal book on the clinical, neurological and sociological aspects of Technology Addiction (Smart Phones, Video Games, Social Media, etc.) and has clinically worked with over 1,000 teens and young people during the last 15 years. He has been active in advocating that screen addiction be recognized as a clinical disorder akin to substance addiction and has developed the most comprehensive treatmnet protocols to treat this emerging global problem.

Dr. Kardaras is also the creator of Seahab, an intensive experiential form of nature immersion therapy. Based on the very successful evidence-based principles of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare (OBH), Seahab has proven to be very effective as an intensive intervention to help addicts shift out of self-destructive and toxic lifestyle patterns.

Dr. Kardaras has also, admittedly, lived a colorful life: he’s a former AAU National Karate champion, a recovering NYC nightclub owner and a coma survivor. Having once owned high-profile NY nightclubs where he had mingled with the likes of JFK, Jr., Uma Thurman and Tom Cruise, Dr. Kardaras emerged from that glamorous-yet-self-destructive world and discovered a healing path to his own recovery from addiction. Dr. Kardaras is also the author of “How Plato and Pythagoras Can Save Your Life” (Conari, 2011) and devotes his life to helping others find their path to recovery, healing and a life of meaning and purpose.

He lives with his wife and twin sons between Austin, TX and Sag Harbor NY and is a frequent presenter and lecturer on the subjects of mental health, philosophy, and both substance and screen addictions.

David Naylor

David Naylor

Founder

David is a creative entrepreneur, CEO and creator of innovative and progressive ideas that become inspiring companies, products and work cultures that ultimately promote and create change.

In 2015 he left his career at Google to follow his calling in the field of addiction & mental health, a place close to home in his personal journey, going to his first treatment center at the age of 17. He has spent the rest of his life pursuing a life of healing, transformation and recovery and set out on a pursuit of finding his ultimate potential. Today, he founded what is now Omega Healthcare, a transformational healthcare organization that provides leading programs around the country in the field of treating addiction and mental health. These Programs focus on addressing not only addiction, but also core trauma, shame, compulsive behaviors, and codependency that treat the root causes. While most centers treat the primary symptoms, our programs focus on bridging the traditional Recovery 12 step approach along with treating the underlying issues and family of origins, focusing on a more whole-listic approach.

David lives in Austin, TX with his daughter Emily and their two golden retrievers Brewster & Lady, and enjoys being a father, reading mythology & novels, playing golf, boating, and helping others find their purpose, meaning and true path. He is currently working on a documentary film and tv series that shines a light on this growing epidemic of the millennial age and ways we may just be able to overcome it.

Michael Smeltzer

Michael Smeltzer

Executive Director

Michael Smeltzer was born and raised in Austin, Texas. As a teenager, Michael was introduced to drugs and alcohol, and began drinking and using regularly. He noticed early on that his reaction to substances was abnormal. He was constantly thinking of the next high. Like so many addicts, he began to isolate, his relationships were strained, he resorted to crime, and his self-esteem plummeted. While studying business at Texas State University, his addiction reached the point of unmanageability.
 
For years, Michael was in and out jails and institutions. He tried programs, treatments, counselors, and medications, but to no avail. He was forced to drop out of school, he could not keep a job, and his family and friends began to lose hope. He felt hopeless and helpless until he was finally able to give himself completely to a simple program of action. Today, Michael has regained the trust of his family, is a productive member of society, and has taken an interest in spiritual philosophy.
 
At Omega, Michael uses his experience to encourage and inspire the next generation of recovering addicts and alcoholics. He considers it an honor and a privilege to pass along the essential tools, strategies, and attitudes that shaped his own journey in recovery.
Lucy Rojas Kardaras

Lucy Rojas Kardaras

Yoga Instructor and 12-Step Coach

Lucy is a certified yoga instructor who was trained by Rodney Yee and his wife Colleen SaidmanYee at Yoga Shanti in New York. She earned her B.A. in English from Syracuse University and an M.S. in Education from Hunter College. Her love for yoga inculcated a deep appreciation of the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that yoga can provide in the modern age. In her classes, she combines the principles and ideas of 12 step programs with the benefits of yoga. Yoga helps alleviate some of the modern afflictions many of us suffer from: overworked, poor posture, text-neck, anxiety, addiction and over-stressed bodies, minds and spirits. She combines many aspects of Hatha Yoga and the deeply calming and relaxing benefits of Restorative Yoga in her classes. Her deepest desire is to impart a life-long love of yoga, foster a joie de vivre–that zest for life–and to inspire hope in people’s lasting journey of recovery. Lucy has experienced the gifts of the 12 Steps over the last 18 years of her sobriety. She is forever grateful to 12 Step fellowships as well as to her amazing yoga teachers, Rodney and Colleen, whose expertise continually guide her. Some of the wisest words ever uttered by Rodney continue to echo in her mind today, “Don’t get weird” he once said…except… if you’re in Austin!
Chris Felder

Chris Felder

CFO

Chris has extensive working knowledge in several disciplines. His broad experience makes Chris an effective manager with a well developed business acumen. His skill set and education intersect several functional areas of management; Finance, Human Resources, and Information Technology, which enables him to be flexible, as he has achieved success in large corporate environments and small businesses across a diverse range of industries.

Specialties: Process Optimization, Employee Resource Management, System Integration, Vendor and Service Provider Liaison, Network Design, Process Automation Design and Implementation.

Gabriella Jeffords

Gabriella Jeffords

Admissions Director

Gabi has worked in the recovery field since 2012. She was previously the Assistant Director of sober living at Hickory Wind Ranch and has a strong background in addiction and eating disorders. Gabi has a bachelor’s in English from Colorado College and graduate-level coursework in counseling at St. Edward’s University. Originally from New York but a Texan transplant for almost 20 years, she brings her heart, intelligence and passion to ensure individualized care for every Omega Recovery client. 
Jina Arandela

Jina Arandela

Insurance Specialist

After overcoming years of suffering from addiction, I found a spiritual path to healing that introduced me to a life full of heart and meaning through helping others. I decided to go back to school for insurance billing and coding, graduating with the highest distinction, and have found work I’m truly passionate about. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to bring my experience and knowledge of the insurance industry to Omega Recovery, helping clients to utilize their insurance benefits as much as possible in support of their healing process.
Shane Cunningham

Shane Cunningham

Director, Business Development

Shane was born in Anaheim, California and spent 6 years of his life in Germany. His family settled in Arizona where Shane attended high school. Freshmen year he suffered a sports injury which required multiple surgeries and multiple prescriptions for painkillers. Shane was only 17 when he graduated from high school and obtained the rank of Eagle Scout within the Boy Scouts of America. While his potential looked endless, Shane was battling an addiction to black tar heroin. With multiple failed attempts trying his own way, Shane finally moved to Austin, TX for drug treatment. That was back in 2012 and has remained sober since.

Alex Ash

Program Manager

Alex was born in Houston, TX and graduated from Texas Tech University in 2011. After suffering a knee injury in 2013, Alex became dependent on pain killers. His college party days never prepared him for a life fueled by addiction and heroin. Years past and Alex found himself moving city to city trying to manage his drug use. After all, hope was lost in 2017, Alex attempted suicide. Waking up in the hospital completely broken, he was willing to go to rehab. Alex had a profound spiritual awakening while in treatment and decided to try a sober living home after completing rehab. That is where he realized he wanted to help other men who struggled as he did. He found a new purpose working in recovery and enjoys passing along the same tools he was given to live a better life and overcome hopelessness and addiction 

Sarah White

Sarah White

Licensed Master Social Worker

Sarah White is a Licensed Master Social Worker. She graduated from the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social work in 2016 with a specialization in clinical social work with academic honors as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She was a Globe Youth Fellow and specialized in work with young adults, adolescents, and children. While participating in the Globe Youth Fellowship she was trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Brief Targeted Interventions. She began her career working with mothers suffering from addiction who were involved with child protective services at the Council on Recovery in Houston.

Sarah spent two years working in acute psychiatric hospitals and has extensive experience in assessing and treating severe mental illness. She has led a team of therapists as the Clinical director in an acute psychiatric hospital and worked to coordinate services, care, and interventions in accordance with state regulations and best practices.

As the Clinical Director at Omega, she is using her extensive knowledge of addiction and mental health to lead our clinicians in offering exceptional evidence-based services. She coordinates with the entire Omega and Bridgeway team to provide clients with a unique experience, unlike other programs. Sarah is a lifelong learner who is motivated to continue to update the programs at Omega to reflect the most up to date evidence-based treatments while keeping sight of the client experience.

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller

Licensed Master Social Worker

Katherine holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker and has experience working with survivors of interpersonal violence and sexual assault, survivors of child abuse, and those with serious mental illness and addiction in community based mental health. She has experience working in nonprofits, government agencies, jails, and private practice settings.

Katherine is a relational therapist and incorporates, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), interpersonal neurobiology (IFNB), and mindfulness into her work with clients. She is also trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and when appropriate, uses this type of therapy to address PTSD, anxiety, and grief- just to name a few! In her work with clients, she will integrate these various techniques and maintain a compassionate approach that honors the inner wisdom and life experience that everyone brings with them. 

Katherine is passionate about helping individuals recover from trauma and addiction, and strives to empower them with skills to thrive.

Sharon Berger

Sharon Berger

LMSW, LCDC

Sharon Berger is a Licensed Master Social Worker and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor who works with OMEGA Recovery’s evening IOP program.

Sharon feels strongly that people struggling with mental health disorders and substance use disorders deserve compassion, respect and personal attention. She strives to help her clients tap into their strengths, giving them hope for their future and the confidence to face it.  

Sharon has been working with families for 21 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin.

Peggy Jai Winn

Peggy Jai Winn

Therapist

Peggy is a therapist who works with Omega Recovery to provide counseling to clients and facilitate groups in the PHP/IOP programs. Peggy believes that nothing and no one is unsalvageable and that her goal is to help clients see themselves in the light of unconditional acceptance and love. Peggy is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and Licensed Master of Social Work, as well as a Certified Reiki practitioner. She holds an Associate in Addictions Counseling from Austin Community College, a B.A. in political science from the University of N. Texas and a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Texas, Arlington. Peggy brings over 7 years of varied experience working with multiple populations struggling with addiction issues and states she is passionate about the opportunity to help others “live new lives.” 

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