I was born in the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Throughout my formative years and into high school I was a good student and competed in both football and track and field and graduated with meritorious honors. After graduating from high school, I started college (which I subsequently dropped out of due to my substance abuse) and worked at a cleaning service company where I worked my way into management within one year. For many years I was able to obtain work as a manager in the services industry, but unable to maintain the job (again due to substance abuse).
Unfortunately, during my early adult years, I experimented with chemicals and fell victim to the powerful grip of addiction. I tried desperately for over 20 years, to break free from the grip of addiction, going in and out of treatment centers and churches, begging “God” for deliverance. My addiction to chemicals led me to many years of unemployment, loss of finances, homelessness, and sleeping in abandoned buildings and “crack’ houses. I was in and out of jails, shot in the head and stabbed, suffering many other tragic and near-death situations.
Moreover, and most regrettably,
After the obsession to use chemicals was lifted, I made up my mind to take full responsibility and change my life. I decided to stop blaming others for my failures, my feelings, and my fears. With the help of a few friends in recovery and a mentor, I conducted painstaking and introspective work on myself, made amends to as many people as I could (especially my children and family members), and forgave myself. During the early course of my recovery from addiction, I realized that my past transgressions and addiction, led me to my true passion and purpose in life, which is to influence, inspire, encourage, teach, and help others suffering from addiction and human developmental struggles.
In my efforts to become more effective at helping others, I walked through my fears and went back to school in 2006 and earned a Substance Use Disorder Specialist Certificate from Glendale Community College in 2007 and became a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor by the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California (ACCBC). In 2007 I attended Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena CA. and earned both my bachelor’s degree with a Specialization in Early Childhood Education (2010) and a master’s degree in human development (2012).
In addition, I also completed all the core course requirements in the Marriage and Family Therapy program before changing my major to Human Development. During my years in school, I worked as a clinical director for two different addiction treatment centers. I also worked as a substance abuse counselor at various mental health and substance abuse treatment centers working with adults and adolescents. I obtained certification as a personal fitness trainer and started my own fitness training business. In the spring of 2012, I was accepted to the Chicago School of Professional Psychology where I earned my Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology all the while maintaining a perfect grade point average of 4.0 throughout my entire school process.
Earning my Professional Fitness Instructor and Trainer Certifications gives me a unique understanding of how to emphasize and integrate holistic health to patients. My areas of specialty are administration, psychoeducation, group and individual psychotherapy, family therapy and education, motivational speaking, life skills education, substance abuse counseling, communications skill training, twelve step education, specialized forensic mental health treatment, and health & fitness and nutrition consultation.
I am also the Executive Director of Dedicated Behavioral Health Foundation, a non-profit aimed at providing housing, counseling, and life skills to homeless and ex-nonviolent criminal offenders deserving of a second chance. These important tools will help them maintain housing and cope with daily stressors in a healthy manner and live a self-supporting life.
Donate to the foundation here.
“Let fear be what it is…but do not let fear determine who you are.” Dr. Keith Marshall, Psy.D., MHD, LAADC, SUDCC-IV-CS,