We believe that effective addiction treatment begins with expert and compassionate leadership. Our staff is comprised of medical professionals and knowledgeable caretakers who have years of experience working with addictions and the families of individuals in treatment.
Get to know us by reading our biographies below, or call to speak with us directly: (888) 971-1113
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know it’s time for treatment?
When addiction takes hold, it’s debilitating. The individual may show signs of addiction through actions as well as changes to their physical appearance. Here are a few warning signs that indicate it’s time to seek help... Read More
When is detox necessary?
Our admissions team can help advise you if detox is necessary in order for the addiction to be treated successfully. If medical detox is suggested, we will make a recommendation for detox with one of our partners... Read More
Desert Cove Recovery believes that each individual is unique. The type of treatment and length of time in the program should meet each person’s specific needs. We offer an extended care program for those requiring more time to address complex treatment... Read More
What does Desert Cove offer AFTER my initial treatment program is complete?
On completion of the Desert Cove Recovery Program, clients will be supported in finding sober living, attending Desert Cove Aftercare Services and involvement in the 12-Step community... Read More
After battling with his own addiction to drugs and alcohol, Blake was given the gift of Recovery at the age of 23. Soon thereafter, Blake altered his career path in order to work in drug and alcohol treatment. Since 2008, Blake has dedicated his life to the addiction field, gaining experience in all aspects of treatment including direct care, admissions and marketing, as well as administration positions. Blake’s greatest reward is being a part of the transformation that occurs when a patient arrives in treatment, and through hard work and the Miracle of recovery, emerges a confident and capable person who is ready to carry the message of recovery.
Director of Client Services
Katie was born and raised on Long Island, New York. After moving out to Arizona to begin her journey of recovery, she found that she was able to build such a firm foundation, that she decided to stay. She loves her job working with others in early recovery, and finds it extremely rewarding that she can now use her story to help others battling their own addictions. Katie is currently a student at Arizona State University and is working towards her degree to further her career in helping others.
Michael Carlton, MD
As the CEO and Founder of Phoenix Recovery, Dr. Carlton has admitting privileges at all the major Phoenix-based hospitals and can provide detox services when needed. Certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Carlton has the knowledge to diagnose and treat specific problems and to manage addictive disorders, having cared for more than 25,000 individuals withdrawing from drugs and alcohol. Dr. Carlton completed his four year dual residency training in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and two years of a specialty fellowship in Medical and Industrial Toxicology. He has over a decade of experience in the treatment of addiction and has given educational lectures and seminars throughout the Southwest. Dr. Carlton has published numerous articles and has extensive knowledge in the fields of Addiction, Toxicology, and Medicine.
Erik Shaffer, LISAC
Since beginning his work in substance abuse and mental health counseling in 1990, Erik is still passionate about what he does. One of our highly qualified members, Erik has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a graduate certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling and Pharmacology, as well as a master’s degree in Business Management and Organizational Leadership. He is a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), specializing in Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. He has served in numerous leadership positions throughout his career. In 1989, after battling his own demons, he spent the next several years working with troubled youth. He started counseling adults in 1999 after relocating to Arizona, and has never turned back.
While he acknowledges his job can be difficult, with many ups and downs, Erik has always felt drawn to this work and believes that he is helping to make a difference in the lives of others.
Erik has the heart of an artist, originally studying art in college before changing paths to therapy. He still greatly enjoys expressing his art through woodworking, photography, remodeling, and interior design. He also loves the outdoors, travelling, off-roading, riding motorcycles, hiking, and camping when he has the time.
“My biggest payoff for doing this kind of work is seeing the successes; having somebody come back and see us again in six months to say that they are doing well and that we made a difference… we don’t take credit for the work they do, it’s them who do the work, but I like to think we had something to do with it.”
Director of Family Communications
Tyler was born and raised outside Boston, Massachusetts. Since beginning his journey of recovery in 2007, he has pursued different corporate career paths in the banking and insurance industry, but has returned to the behavioral health field where his interpersonal skills and knowledge of addiction are used to educate and inform families during their loved one’s stay at Desert Cove Recovery.
Tyler acts as a liaison between the Clinical Staff, the clients, and the families – helping to provide an insight into the daily lives of your loved ones. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to him at any time.
Director of Admissions
Libby was born and raised in Chandler, Arizona. After battling with drugs and alcohol, she made the decision to get sober and 17 years old and has been sober ever since. Through the program of recovery, Libby found a passion for helping others experience the benefits of sobriety and starting working in the recovery field in 2015. Currently, Libby is working on obtaining her nursing degree where she can continue to work with people in recovery. Outside of work, Libby spends her time with her husband and enjoys helping other women in recovery.
Zaara was not the smartest cookie when she stepped on the accounting path. She applied for an Accounts Payable job by mistake and was ironically called for the interview where she was told she “looked intelligent” and was offered the position. She was immensely lucky to work for an amazing and patient Assistant Controller who taught her the basics of accounting and saw the best in her. Since then, Xaara has invested years in education and experience to strive to become better than the 2005 version of herself. After several successful failures of trying to fit in Construction Accounting or working for heartless bosses, her career at Desert Cove Recovery started because she finally figured out that she wants to work at a place of healing and be surrounded by genuinely kind people who love to help and lift others. At Desert Cove, we have all been broken in one way or another and then we have recovered. This is the perfect place for hopeful, helpful and authentic people to work as a team.
Bio coming soon!
Lori Mischke, LASAC
I went to Desert Cove for treatment 4 years ago and have been sober ever since. Desert Cove saved my life. I came to treatment from New York. After, I decided to go back to school to help others. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Grand Canyon University. I am currently working on my Master’s in Addiction Counseling at Grand Canyon University.
Edgar Ngwaru, MSW
Bio coming soon!
Brianna Huh, LISAC
I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea and came to Arizona to attend Arizona State University in 2001. I graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Master’s degree in Addiction Counseling, received my first bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ajou University in South Korea and my second bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. I decided to give back to society and people after receiving unconditional love and support for my younger boy with a special needs from therapists and social workers. Many wonderful therapists and social workers have helped me and my family through the journey of discovering more in my boy than his diagnose, I am excited to be a part of the journey of people with the disease of addiction to discover what they are capable of accomplishing in their lives.
Director of Human Resources
Aubrey works to provide support and guidance to the Desert Cove staff, spending her time focusing on the day-to-day HR operations, streamlining the hiring process, collaborating with other departments, participating in continuous research on ways to help Desert Cove thrive, and helping employees navigate through all that “stuff” that HR does. Prior to becoming the Director of HR, Aubrey spent over three years providing administrative support to the staff, managing the office, and providing customer service to guests. Above all else, she is driven to help others in any way she can. Aubrey is currently a student at Arizona State University, where she is obtaining a Bachelor’s in English to pursue her passion of creative writing. Outside of work, Aubrey enjoys spending time with her husband and her son, and occasionally their oddball cat, Cheeto.