Our Staff

Meet Some of the Staff that Make our Recovery Happen:

founders-bill-ann-schneider-223x300Ann and Bill Schneider
Co-Founders | Experienced Texas Addiction Treatment

Bill and Ann have been respected innovators in the alcohol and drug treatment field for over 20 years. Touched by family members and close friends who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, they recognized that traditional treatment centers were often failing to address underlying emotional and childhood trauma issues that all too often led to relapse among clients.

In response to this unmet need, they founded The Life Healing Center of Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1994. Under their guidance, and with a strong commitment to providing quality care, it combined the latest in successful mental health therapies with traditional 12-Step spiritual support. Life Healing Center soon emerged as the leading residential trauma treatment facility in the country attracting hundreds of referrals from Hazelden, Betty Ford, Caron Foundation, Sierra Tucson and The Meadows as well as receiving referrals from all fifty states and fifteen foreign countries.

Bill and Ann sold their addiction treatment facility in 2004. Then, with help from their long time friends, the late Coach Darrell Royal and his wife Edith, they devoted much of the next several years to aiding a struggling Austin non-profit alcohol and drug treatment center. The Center was in danger of closing its doors with the resulting loss of free services that the poor and working families of Central Texas had relied upon since 1967. The Schneiders assisted in re-organizing the board of directors, rallied community support, and helped guide the agency to become one of the most successful community treatment facilities in Texas.

Now Bill and Ann are excited to re-enter the addiction recovery field. They bring their talents for innovation and program quality to an emerging new recovery model that can lead men to the full and fulfilling life in recovery they’ve been searching to find.


Peter Piraino, LMSW, LCDC
Executive Director

Born and raised in Long Island, NY, Peter received his master’s degree in social work from Stony Brook University. He is a licensed chemical dependency counselor in Texas as well as New York. Peter brings with him a vast amount of clinical and leadership experience in the drug and alcohol treatment field. From teaching class at Stony Brook University, to providing individual and group therapy for adolescent and adult treatment centers, to being the Clinical and Executive Director of a nationally renowned treatment center, Peter is the perfect fit for helping men recovery at The Last Resort Recovery Center.

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drweissLeonard Weiss, MD
Addiction Psychiatrist

Dr. Weiss provides specific services for the treatment of chemical dependency and addiction which includes: assessment, recommendations for detoxification and rehabilitation programs, and  provides ongoing support for medication management and psychotherapy.

In treating addictive disorders and dual diagnosis patients, it is necessary to ferret out the underlying reasons for the obsessional thinking behind the compulsive actions which may lead to negative consequences. He is doubly certified in the treatment of Addictive Disorders by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

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Heroin DetoxDr. Robert Dougherty MD
Medical Director

Dr. Robert Dougherty earned his BS in Psychobiology from Quinnipiac College in Hamden, CT. After college he was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy. Dr. Dougherty completed flight school in Corpus Christi, Texas and served as a Naval Aviator and flight instructor during the Gulf War. Upon completion of his initial obligation to the Navy, he started medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio in 1995.

While in medical school, Dr. Dougherty was selected as one of eight students nationally to attend the Aerospace Medicine Clerkship at NASA. He returned to Corpus Christi to complete his residency in family practice. Dr. Dougherty is married with seven children and enjoys his family time, volunteering for the Children’s Advocacy Center, woodworking, and playing guitar. He regularly rides his bicycle with his children to school and work.

Dr. Tom Michaels, PSY.D 
Clinical Director

Dr. Michaels (aka “Dr. Tom”) is a New England native who moved to Texas from Boston in 2017 to join the team at TLR. He earned his doctorate in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) from Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire in 2009. Dr. Tom has been working in the field of behavioral health for almost 20 years. He comes to TLR having professional experience working with dual diagnosis clients in outpatient, residential, and emergency room settings. He is trained in motivational interviewing and uses this approach, as well as cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic modalities to help clients move to the next stage of their recovery.

Dr. Tom comes to TLR with experience in the treatment of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, grief counseling, conduct/oppositional disorders, personality disorders, trauma, and addiction.  He additionally specializes in the treatment of the LGBT population, suicide assessment and prevention, and non-suicidal self-injury, and has professional competence in program development/evaluation, risk assessment/mitigation, and teaching/training.


drug rehab therapistMichael Wurth, MA, NCC, LCDC, LPC

Michael Wurth is both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC), and he employs mindful counseling methods from a narrative perspective. Michael teaches overwhelmed people how to rewrite the stories in their heads that are holding them back. This often requires challenging the longest-held of assumptions we carry about ourselves.

Narrative focus comes second-nature to Michael. Before he became a Nationally Certified Counselor, Michael held a Master Degree in Comparative Literature and worked for years as a stockbroker in New York, an English teacher in Caracas, and a screenwriter in Los Angeles and Hawaii. Michael has won awards at several film festivals for two of his feature films and three short works. Michael has also directed and written over 40 commercials.

While no two situations are identical, Michael tends to employ Mindfulness-Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, to help clients identify their thinking patterns in active addiction, and how these thoughts actually control their beliefs and their emotions, often without their knowledge. Michael believes, “it’s in our thoughts, not our feelings, where our addictions begin and end. The stories we tell ourselves dictate our paths.”

“It’s an honor to be able to serve the clients at The Last Resort, and I’m grateful to learn from each of them.”

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Marshall D. Neal, MA, LCDC-I

Marshall was born in Bastrop, Texas, but has lived all over The Lone Star State and the Southwest United States.  He served 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and was a police officer for 5 years.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Florida Tech, a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and currently working on his doctorate of Psychology from the University of the Rockies.

Marshall has struggled with substance use and addiction for the entirety of his adult life, and currently maintains his sobriety by immersing himself in the 12-step community. Working for the local mental health care authority in Austin/Travis County for several years, Marshall provided psycho-social rehabilitation services to individuals diagnosed with both substance abuse disorders and other mental health disorders. He began his journey with The Last Resort as a Recovery Specialist until a clinical position opened in January 2017.  He enjoys daily meditations and spending time with his family to replenish his passion for working with individuals from every walk of life who are struggling with addiction.


Drug Addiction TherapistTheresa Stringer, LMSW, LCDC-I

Specializations: Relationships, Anxiety, Depression, Stress management, Couples Counseling, Self-Esteem and Personal Growth, Mindfulness, Life transitions, Addictions, Aging and Bereavement.

Theresa began her interest in Clinical Social Work after working as a nurse in the Addictions field. Her training in the US Army and work in a variety of clinical settings set the stage for her education in Social Work. She completed her Master’s in Social Work from Western Carolina University with a concentration in Substance Abuse.

Theresa brings a genuine, empathetic and open-hearted energy into her counseling practice. She offers a safe space to open up and process what you are going through. Because of her first career as a nurse, Theresa uses a holistic approach to identify patterns that may be hindering you in feeling fulfilled and becoming the best version of yourself.

I am a lover of dogs and the outdoors. I moved to Texas from Asheville, NC in May of 2016 and enjoy exploring Austin’s art, music and food scene. I believe in self-care in order to better serve others and utilize yoga, pet therapy and essential oils daily.


Chris Shanks, LCDC-I
Primary Counselor

Chris was born & raised in Houston, Texas and had a twenty year career as a digital photo retoucher in Dallas. His twenty eight year struggle with addiction began around age 13. Throughout his addiction Chris tried quitting numerous times in multiple programs, rehabs and detoxes. He was addicted to almost every drug there is at one time or another. At the end of it all Chris found himself coming off heroin & meth in solitary confinement facing a long prison sentence.

Chris says he finally became teachable and connected to the spiritual principals of Buddhism and Zen meditation while in prison. He found a practice that connected him to a power greater than himself.

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Ellen Pace, LMFT-A, LPC-I
Equine Specialist and Family Program

Ellen is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist and specializes in Equine-Assisted Therapy.  Ellen coordinates the Family Program and the Equine-Assisted Therapy program at The Last Resort Recovery Center.  She is trained in Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (TF-EAP), Gestalt Equine Psychotherapy (GEP) and is a P.A.T.H. Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL).  Ellen also uses her training in EMDR therapy, implementing a proven method of treating severe trauma with our clients

Ellen has worked in the Equine-Assisted Therapy field for the last six years at Spirit Reins and Silver Lining Therapy in Liberty Hill, TX; ROCK (Ride On Center for Kids)-Georgetown, TX, and the counseling field at STARRY Counseling-Round Rock, TX.  She has also worked internationally, creating an equine-assisted therapy program and using EMDR PRECI protocol to assist orphans in Zambia, Africa and serves on the board of HOPE (Horses Offering People Enrichment) in Beijing, China. Ellen has brought tremendous experience to The Last Resort by combining her knowledge of trauma-focused therapy with the naturalistic lessons that ensue from working with horses. This creates a unique, one-of-a kind experience by identifying underlying issues that may block our client’s progress in reaching their long-term recovery goals.

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Corbin Bigheart 
Director of Recovery Services

Corbin was born and raised in Enid, OK and a proud graduate of the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!). Struggling with alcoholism and addiction starting at age 17, Corbin started trying to get sober at 22. In and out of rehabs, hospitals, and jails, Corbin tried everything other than the 12 steps to find recovery with no success. “I couldn’t stay sober for longer than 24 hours outside of an institution. I had reached a point where I truly believed there was no hope for me.”

In April of 2015, after 5 years of looking for a solution, he finally found one that worked in God and the 12 Steps. Corbin then was able to find his life’s purpose through helping other men find sobriety. “Passing strength and hope on to the addict or alcoholic who still suffers is the greatest joy of my life.” As the Director of Recovery Services,  Corbin has created and implemented the 12 step curriculum and programming at The Last Resort. He provides day to day leadership and guidance to our Recovery Specialists, as well as program direction and implementation as it pertains to Recovery Services.

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Will Brown
Alumni Coordinator

Will had a pretty average childhood. He grew up with two loving and compassionate parents that would do anything for him; He was active in the Cub Scouts and played sports. Until, like so many other young peoples’ stories, Will began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. It got bad enough that Will ended up in his first treatment program at age 16.

At age 17, Will found opiates. He tried one pill and was hooked. For 5 years, Will was in and out of jail, rehab, and hospitals until he was finally desperate enough to try something different. Through the 12 steps, Will was able to develop a relationship with a Higher Power strong enough to keep him sober.

“My quality of life today is far more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined, and I want other young men to be able to experience the same freedom I do.”

As Alumni coordinator I follow up with Alumni, and organize events for all of them to get together and enjoy the fellowship that they have created out of their new found freedom.

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Michael Smeltzer
Recovery Services Coordinator

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.

“I always had good intentions, but I had lost control.”

 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 The Last Resort, Michael uses his experience to help men recover from the same hopeless state of mind that he was once in.  As the Recovery Services Coordinator, he teaches 12-step implementation, oversees accountability, and manages Recovery Specialist caseloads.

“It is a joy to see the light come on for these guys. I love what I do. I couldn’t be happier.”

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Parker Chapin
Continuum of Care and Referral Relations Coordinator

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, Parker grew up in a wonderful family with 2 loving parents. His journey with alcoholism and addiction started when he was 15 when he started drinking and taking opiates. When he was 16, he was sent to a prestigious military academy in South Texas and graduated in 2012.  He started playing music shortly after graduating and found his niche. “As a musician, drinking and drugging is all around, I believed I could only play music under the influence and I accepted it as a part of my life.”

Parker was in and out of jail, treatment centers, and psych facilities until he found himself on the verge of death in 2014. On November 16th, 2014 he found his way back to a treatment center on South Padre Island. “I had no other option, I knew I was going to die if I continued to live the way I was living.” After treatment he was afforded the opportunity to move to sober living in the Texas Hill Country. He lived in Kerrville, Texas for a year and ended up helping manage his sober house. “My experience with sober living was the most pivotal aspect of my recovery. I learned what God’s grace truly is, I found that sobriety and happiness could be synonymous, and I discovered that I could enjoy making music sober.

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Erik Jokinen
Director of Admissions

The Last Resort is pleased to announce our newest team member Erik Jokinen. Erik will be joining us as the Director of Admissions. Erik is an alumnus of The Last Resort with over 3 years of continuous sobriety.

Prior to joining the TLR team, Erik worked for a nationally renowned facility in Louisiana. Being a native of Louisiana himself, he is a die-hard LSU Tigers fan. Erik spends much of his time carrying the message of hope to others so they may find the same freedom he was given.

“I am grateful to be a part of The Last Resort Recovery Center. To help men recover and to help families begin to heal is an honor and a privilege.”

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Billy Fava
Business Development Specialist

Please welcome Billy Fava as our newest Business Development Specialist. Billy will be representing The Last Resort Recovery Center in the Bayou State of Louisiana. Billy is from Lafayette, Louisiana with over 35 years of sobriety and decades of intervention experience. We are excited to bring Billy’s experience and passion for recovery to our marketing team. Billy will be building relationships with recovery providers all across South Louisiana and helping families place their loved ones in treatment.

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Kim Rabago
Director of Finance

A long time Texas resident, Kim received her Master’s in Professional Accountancy from The University of Texas. She is also a licensed CPA in the State of Texas and began her career in public accounting as an auditor for Ernst & Young. Her experience also includes financial management for a start-up toxicology lab.

Kim’s passion for horses and rescuing dogs brought her to the Smithville area, where she lives with her husband, three dogs, two horses, and a donkey. Her newest dog, Harper, joins her at TLR everyday and is well-loved by our residents.

“I feel honored to work for a company with such an important mission; The Last Resort changes lives everyday.”



Austin Berry
Director of Business Development

Austin has been with The Last Resort from the very beginning. He has risen in the ranks from a tech staff, to admissions, to marketing, and most recently, Director of Business Development. Born in Arlington, TX and graduating Memorial High School in Houston, he went on to the University of Alabama while secretly continuing to cheer for the Longhorns! Austin is an avid golfer, music lover, and duck hunter. He has a strong passion for sharing the message of recovery, drawing from his own personal experience since entering recovery in 2010.

Austin says, “I love seeing the miracle of recovery before and after. It draws me closer to the guys and closer to God – one day at a time.”

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Adjunct Professional Staff



Bob Beare, Ph.D
Senior Clinical Consultant
Experience and Men’s Depth Work Program

Bob brings with him to TLR over 20 years of clinical leadership in the addiction treatment field. He is a specialist in process addictions, healing through creativity, men’s depth work, and family of origin issues. He is the founder of The Brave Heart Experience at The Last Resort, a dynamic transformational rite of passage for men in recovery. Bob holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D in Organizational Psychology. He was a certified leader with The Mankind Project International/New Warrior Training for 13 years and an instructor at the C. G. Jung Educational Center in Houston for 15 years. He also held leadership positions at Drug Abuse Programs of America (DAPA) in Houston, and Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC).

He is the author of The Creative Fire, 10 Weeks to Creative and Emotional Fitness. His published dissertation was on Leadership and Vulnerability. Bob brings a personal passion for old school, high accountability recovery in combination with ongoing emotional depth work. “I love watching these guys transform from hopeless to passionate leaders with a mission of recovery and service”

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1620 Farm to Market 535
Smithville, TX 78957
call our 24/7 admission hotline

I tried to quit a hundred times. Sometimes I’d make it for a month, sometimes two, but I always wound up back with my drug. What I found [at Last Resort] was the answer to what I’d been searching for in recovery but couldn’t seem to find. They put it all together and they put me together too!