We are a group of caring individuals that all share the same goal; Making sure our patients get the best treatment possible.
James Dopp MuellerPresident
After serving with the US Army 5th Special Forces Group in Vietnam, Jim had a 30-year career in Real Estate managing shopping centers for ITT, General Electric, Prudential Insurance and Travelers Insurance.
Jim’s second career began with the Hazelden Foundation at their facility in West Palm Beach, Florida. He began working on the men’s unit. He then worked on the older adult unit, and then was promoted to the education department. His responsibilities included the supervision of the professional addiction training Institute, the Physician Faculty Training Program and he led the internship programs with eight Master degree programs. He eventually became the chairman of the Education Team, a member of the Clinical Leadership Team, and ultimately, a member of the Executive Leadership Team.
Jim was sent to Costa Rica as a consultant/expert in 2002 to make a presentation on the Minnesota model to governmental agencies responsible for health care in Costa Rica. He was contracted to become the Clinical Director of ACERPA in San Jose to implement the Hazelden Addiction Treatment Model.
Jim is one of the founders of Costa Rica Recovery.
Richard LebowAdministrative Director / Counselor
Richard has worked with the center for over 8 years and has personally helped 100’s of patients find their way to Costa Rica for treatment and leave clean. Richard is often working with clients on their action plans and helps coordinate some of the most exciting events and adventures. Richard is the proud father of two Costa Rican children and has lived in Costa Rica for over 24 years. He is an active member of the English speaking NA & AA community. He enjoys tennis and time with family.
With years of experience in Recovery and Relapse Prevention, he looks forward to each day helping other addicts find a new way to live. Costa Rica Recovery is a place where hundreds of people have been given the tools to rediscover themselves and lead their lives clean. “I am eager to be a part of that process and support those who want to heal.”
Deborah Schmidt Clinical Director
Deborah deeply understands the plight of women that are first getting into treatment and then continuing on the recovery journey. Deborah’s mission is to carry the message of hope in recovery to female patients at the center. Deborah’s holistic approach to recovery, combined with compassion and an alternative style of recovery coaching, offers women a real opportunity to put the past behind them and travel the road to recovery. Every woman who passes through the office to seek Deborah’s guidance comes away with hope for the future. Deborah works to help women overcome the trauma that often keeps them from committing to a recovery program.
Dra. Rosario de Vega Staff Physician
Dra. de Vega is a Cincinnati, Ohio US trained family physician, who has practiced in Costa Rica since 2010. She has worked with Costa Rica Recovery since 2016 and has helped many patients overcome their acute withdrawal symptoms along with their detox programs. She is in charge of evaluating each patient that comes into Costa Rica Recovery and elaborating on an individual and well-titrated medication plan to alleviate any withdrawal symptoms. She is our on-call physician and is always available to address any medical condition a patient may present during their stay at Costa Rica Recovery.
Dr. Francisco Jimenez MartenPsychiatry Specialist
Costa Rica university
Substance Abuse Scholar
Johns Hopkins University
He worked at the Institute of Alcoholism and Drug dependency in the Departments of External Consultation, Detoxification, Rehabilitation and Research.
Former director of Addictive Disorders Treatment Centers:
Country House, Serenity House, Serenity House
He has worked in epidemiological and clinical-pharmacological research in both psychiatry and addictions.
He has 38 years of experience in private psychiatric consultation and in the area of addictive behaviors.
Currently attending Clinica Serenidad, Curridabat.
Monica OteroAddiction Counselor
Monica has been involved in recovery for the past 23 years being an active member of 12 Step Recovery programs. She has several certifications in the coaching field which qualify her to guide and support our clients and motivate them while holding them accountable so they can achieve a vision of change from active addiction to active Recovery.
She is also a facilitator and mentor specializing in coaching for Addiction coaches. She has been asked to speak in several institutions in Costa Rica and Internationally. For the summer of 2011 She was part of the counseling team for 400 teenagers in areas of Spiritual wellness, emotional physical health.
Her experience as Project developer in FundaVida , an NGO with the mission to rescue youth at risk of addiction and delinquent behavior in extreme poverty and marginal areas has served over 500 kids.
Cindy CervantesClinical Psychologist
Cindy Cervantes, is a licensed psychologist who has worked at several addiction treatment centers in Costa Rica. Aside from addiction treatment, she also has experience treating patients suffering psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety, trauma, personality disorders and others.
Ingrid BarqueroSocial Worker
Ingrid was born in Costa Rica. She is a professional social worker who provides guidance on a variety of difficult life issues. She is interested in guiding the patients to establish a new lifestyle after treatment and help them to create goals that encourage them to continue their recovery.
She is always willing to help and listen to others, is empathetic and compassionate. This includes helping patients integrate into the 12-step community in their local area post-treatment.
Laura NaranjoOccupational Therapist
Laura is passionate about helping others and has dedicated her career to Occupational Therapy. Her work focuses on discovering what patients actually want from their lives and how to move forward to actualize their individual goals. She patiently plans and trains patients on how to effectively move forward into productive, independent lives. Laura has a masters degree and also speaks Portuguese.
Yozef has dedicated his life to inspire others through movement and meditation. He used to work for about 6 years in big multinational companies in Costa Rica until he found out about yoga and realized he could live a more purposeful life through teaching others how to access a deeper awareness of body and mind. He believes that the science of yoga can guide people into an empowering experience that allow them to make breakthroughs in their life or initiate a journey of self-discovery. As a yoga teacher and transformational retreats leader he has extensive experience in guiding groups to live a more conscious life, full of purpose and empowerment. He also believes that every person has the right to live a life in which they can become a gift for humanity by recognizing their true inner essence and therefore making positive changes in the world by changing themselves.
Andrea began practicing yoga 10 years ago. Collectively, she has taken teacher trainings for more than 2000 hours. Andrea has a Bachelor in Human Sciences and is also a Thai Massage Therapist certified by the Sunshine Massage School. Andrea thinks of the practice of yoga as preventative medicine, balancing the body, mind, and spirit, through the study of anatomy, human physiology, and yogic subtle anatomy.
Jake takes care of the patients in residence at Costa Rica Recovery. His patience and empathy are key for the job. Jake is from Texas and originally came to Costa Rica for treatment himself. He has been in recovery for over a year and is an active member of the Recovery community in San Jose. He cares deeply about helping other addicts.
In his free time he enjoys gardening and spending time enjoying the natural wonders of Costa Rica.
Mark DeWaardHouse Manager
Mark takes care of the patients in residence. Canadian by birth, Mark is a longtime member of the local 12 Step groups and resident of Costa Rica. He is a family man who enjoys sports and playing guitar. Mark lovingly looks after patients during their time of growth.
Girlannie LaraHead Chef
Girlannie has dedicated her life to cooking healthy food. She is an avid practitioner of dynamic weight training, dance, and nutritional science. She focuses on delivering a healthy menu to help patients heal during this critical period. Girlannie has years of Recovery herself so she is sensitive and caring toward the needs of persons in early Recovery.
Food is energy – it restores the body and its essential for life. Quality food choices are important for any type of recovery program. Costa Rica Recovery believes in nutritional coaching, which is why we serve fresh fruits and vegetables with every meal. Costa Rica has an abundance of excellent fresh food choices and we incorporate them into our program.
Gustavo makes sure that everything stays in working order. We appreciate all that he does for us!
Griselda Alfaro Housekeeping
Griselda brings years of hotel experience to the Costa Rica Recovery Team. Her experience and training allows for a positive, clean, comfortable experience. Griselda is a dedicated Mother and brings her attention to detail to all she does.
Russ WhaleyAftercare Specialist
Heidy makes sure that everything at Costa Rica Recovery is in tip-top shape. Thanks to her, we always have clean linens and stocked restrooms. We appreciate that she’s been with us for 4 years and we hope for many more!
Mariana Pinto Administrative Assistant
Artist and licensed psychologist, Mariana Apestegui Pinto is the creative mind behind ArtSpa, art sessions where low-skill creative challenges are combined with psychology to spark high connections with our emotional self. She is a painter with psychoanalytic training, a Masters degree in neuroeducation with emphasis in cognitive skill optimization and a Masters degree in Fine Arts.
Rhett ByersCounselor / Fitness & wellness coach
After traveling to Costa Rica in 2004 and staying for 3 months on my first 7 year Sabbatical with the Intel Corporation – I fell in love with the climate and the culture. In 2010, I quit my job with Intel after working there for 13 years and moved here full time. From patient to volunteer to employee; I have been working with CRR since April 28th, 2013 and a total of 13 years in Recovery. I am dual diagnosed with PTSD (Former US Marine) and quite familiar with depression and how to lead a happy and productive life despite it. Now a husband and father with 3 awesome dogs, I truly found a home here and love the work I do as a team member of the Costa Rica Recovery staff. My side interests are working with the patients and others as a Personal Trainer/Nutritionist and being the tech consultant for our largest AA Group here in Costa Rica where I also administer Costa Rica AA.com – Life is GOOD!
Are you or someone you love looking for a treatment center? Start the journey to recovery today.