Aubrey Dunning, MS in Professional Counseling 

Executive Director, Board Member

Aubrey DunningAubrey Dunning is the Executive Director and Owner of Changing Tides. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Minor in Family Relations in 2007 from East Carolina University. Aubrey has solely worked in the field of addiction and feels very blessed to be a change agent in each client’s journey to recovery. Aubrey worked at a facility for approximately 7 years before opening Changing Tides. Prior to opening Changing Tides Aubrey began her Master’s Program in Professional Counseling at Grand Canyon University. Through her experience she feels that Changing Tides has something special to offer to client’s in need of treatment services, and that is the real-life environment with caring, compassionate and dedicated staff. As a professional in progress of a Masters In Professional Counseling, Aubrey enjoys working with clients using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy. She feels that most people are touched by addiction in some way, whether it is themselves, a loved one or a friend. Therefore, it is important to incorporate the family members into the client’s treatment process as much as possible. An additional wonderful aspect to the program is that we are located so close to the beach, right across the street. Our staff’s goal is to help our clients see that Change IS Possible!

Brett Dunning, MA, LCAS, CCS

Clinical Director, Board Member

Brett DunninBrett Dunning is the Clinical Director and specializes in facilitating the principles of the twelve steps in a manner that easily assimilates clients into 12-step recovery communities. Brett’s personal experiences with chemical dependency coupled with his unique utilization of cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT) assists clients who suffer from self-deception in the realms of chemical dependency and other maladaptive thinking patterns. Through motivational interviewing therapy techniques, Brett has the ability to assist those with chemical dependency issues by changing embedded and untruthful negative beliefs.

Over 10 years ago at Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies, Brett interned on the Silkworth Unit. There he was coached to gain the understanding that those who suffer from addiction are “Good people with a bad disease.” Brett’s mission is to assist his clientele to recognize this simple statement fully. Brett’s clinical methodologies assist his clientele to begin the process of change; the recovery process is not just about the cessation of mood-altering substances. The clinical methodologies used to assist the clientele to reduce the psychological and cognitive weight of self-deception, lack of self-esteem, internal anger (self-hatred) and assist the client in reducing the demon of shame.

Brett earned his associate’s degree in Social Science in 2010, his bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2011 from Kutztown University, and his master’s degree from Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies in 2012. Brett has worked at multiple treatment centers, including being a Clinical Director, around the country and takes pride in the fact that he consulted on the licensure, establishment, and training of employees at multiple “ground level” drug and alcohol treatment centers.

Dr. John Sanchez, DO

Medical Director

Dr. John SanchezDr. John Sanchez graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Trumpet Performance from Indiana University’s esteemed Jacob’s School of Music in 1989. He pursued a master’s degree in Music Composition before leaving the music profession in order to enter medical school in 1994. He graduated from Midwestern University’s Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1999. He completed his internship at Tri-City Hospital in Dallas, Texas in 2000. He completed his Family Medicine Residency at Dallas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas, Texas in 2002. Dr. Sanchez moved to the beautiful Outer Banks in 2002.

Dr. Sanchez is Board Certified in Family Medicine from the America Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. He is also Certified in Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorders (OUD).

Dr. Sanchez is the Medical Director of the Outer Banks Hospital Urgent Care Center and Family Medicine. He is also the Medical Director of Beaufort County Health Department, Hyde County Health Department, Community Care Clinic of Dare and OBX Renew IV to You. He is a Consulting Associate for the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Duke University School of Medicine. He is a supervising physician to Ocracoke Health Center and Pathways to Life and a Physician Documentation advisor to Vidant Medical Center.

Dr. Sanchez works for Changing Tides as the Medical Director and helps clients to make a smoother transition from active use to sobriety. He oversees the client’s addiction medicine during their stay at Changing Tides and aids them in managing withdrawal symptoms, sleep disturbances, mood disturbances, anxiety and depression to provide them with a better outcome after their stay at Changing Tides.

Dr. Sanchez is a member of the USA Boxing and a Ringside Physician for Mixed Martial Arts. He pursues fitness and nutrition as a lifestyle. He has 3 beautiful children and is a Jazz trumpet player with his Chez Says Band.

Angel Barrino, CADC, ICADC


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Angel is a Substance Abuse Counselor at Changing Tides. She comes to us from Charlotte / Gastonia area, and is a native of Greensboro, NC. She earned her Bachelors in Christian Education, Masters in Christian Counseling, Honorary Doctorate in Sacred Literature from Rehoboth International Bible College in Raleigh, NC. She holds multiple certifications in Mental Health Recovery, WRAP Facilitation, Trauma and other specialties. She is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC, ICADC) with approximately 8 years of experience in the Mental Health and Substance Abuse field. Angel joined MH/SA after realizing that she wanted to help others who were affected by alcoholism and trauma, as much as she had been as a child. She helps clients focus on solutions and identify ways to improve their quality of life. Angel enjoys using CBT, Motivational Interviewing, Reality Therapy, Narrative, DBT, WRAP and at the client’s request Faith and Recovery approaches, as well as implementing other effective therapies as she masters them. Her own life experiences and ability relating to clients in ways which help bring positive breakthrough have been her strength. She has a unique ability to teach clients from a wholistic perspective and her passion for complete recovery shines through in each group or individual session. Angel joins us with an extensive trauma background, which includes working with victims of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and Sexual Assault. She is an active member of NAMI South Mountain and works closely with NAMI and other agencies to speak about awareness, trauma and advocacy.

When Angel is not working, she enjoys writing, singing, creating, reading, working in ministry, traveling, walking, playing with her Chihuahua Angel2, spending time with her husband, daughter, family and close friends, as well as exploring cultural and new foods. She blogs about her dining experiences and adventures. Angel is a 10-time Best Selling author on Amazon and owns a private coaching business which focuses on wellness, life skills and business building.

Currently Angel is working on her PhD in Biblical Counseling, with plans to pursue a second bachelor’s in human services and master’s in professional counseling with hopes to obtain her LCAS someday. She has always dreamt of living and working at the beach; therefore, she welcomes this role with open arms and is very instrumental in teaching clients to live their dreams and pursue purpose outside of their addiction.

Nolton Hill, RN

Registered Nurse

Nolton is a graduate of the College of Albemarle Associate Degree in Nursing Program in Elizabeth City, NC and has a bachelor’s degree in applied science from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Nolton Hill is a registered nurse at Changing Tides who helps clients to maintain and improve their health during their treatment experience through attentive caregiving and patient education. 

Prior to employment at Changing Tides, Nolton worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse with Bon Secours, Virginia Department of Corrections, locally on the Outer Banks at Britthaven Health and Rehabilitation Center.  Nolton then went on to become a Registered Nurse and worked for many years as an RN at Sentara Albemarle Emergency Department.  After a successful career providing care for the public at Sentara Albemarle Emergency Department, Nolton has joined Changing Tides to expand his practice as an addiction nurse.  Nolton’s experience includes providing care for patients and families concerning mental health, substance use, emergent health issues, and health prevention.  

Nolton enjoys spending his free time with his wife, two daughters, and two Labrador Retrievers. Nolton’s interests include running, fishing, kayaking, hiking, cooking, reading, and increasing his vinyl record collection.

Deana (Dea) Celaj

Case Manager, BS

BDE3D265 67F2 4AA5 8DBC 420024A05EAADea earned her bachelor of science degree in psychology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte in 2021. Throughout her four years in college, Dea has gained an in-depth knowledge of psychology and is working to further heighten her research skills.

In the near future, Dea will be pursuing a master of science degree in clinical mental health counseling as well as licensure to become a certified addiction counselor. Often referred to as the “therapist friend,” Dea is passionate when it comes to getting to know other people and helping them through whatever obstacles they may be facing. When she isn’t at work, you can probably find Dea relaxing at the beach with a good book in her hand.

Julie Paradise, MA


Julie Paradise, MAJulie Paradise holds a Master’s degree in Psychology from The Harold Abel School of Social & Behavioral Sciences at Capella University. 

Working over 10 years as a community & school counselor and behavioral specialist, Julie has the experience and knowledge to promote wellness in all life domains (home, school/work, and community). She has practiced working with individuals (adults, children & adolescents), with small groups, with families, and with multidisciplinary treatment teams for consumer advocacy. 

Julie’s specialties include utilizing various mental skills, including visualization, goal setting, self-care, and positive self-talk. She uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and resiliency & strength-based techniques with her clients to aid in developing coping mechanisms and self-growth. Julie strives to apply her skills and passion for promoting mental health and overall wellness. 

She enjoys exploring nature in her free time, especially beaches, growing flowers and succulents, and nurturing creativity through art and crafting. 

Favorite Quote: “Don’t go through life, GROW through life.” –Eric Butterworth

Cecil Meadows, Associates in Applied Science, PSS

Peer Support Specialist

Cecil MeadowsCecil Meadows is the Recovery Support Specialist here at Changing Tides. He received his Associates Degree in Applied Science from Mount Olive College and is currently training to obtain his licensure as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.

Cecil brings with him a 30+ year knowledge in the manufacturing and sale of yachts and thus, has traveled world-wide working and dealing with people of all diversities. He also, having experienced his own personal recovery story, offers hope to clients who are just beginning their journey on their recovery path. In doing so, he offers his own unique perspective to the hard-to-reach clients through his excellent communication abilities, from his many years in sales. His passion for lifelong learning and recovery support services is reinforced through his direct-speaking and strong advocacy for life-long sobriety and providing a terrific role model.

In Cecil’s spare time he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren, fishing, and finding and enjoying new dining experiences.

Andrew Diaz, BS in Criminal Justice, PSS

Peer Support Specialist

Andrew DiazAndrew joined the Changing Tides team as a Recovery Support Specialist. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. in Administration of Justice in 2007. Andrew worked as a Detective in law enforcement for 7+ years where he was part of a regional gang task force with the D.E.A and F.B.I. Andrews’ own past experiences with addiction offer a unique outlook to clients as he offers real-life success stories on recovery and is a walking example that “CHANGE IS POSSIBLE!” It is critical to understand each person’s particular story of addiction so Changing Tides can craft an individual journey of recovery and Andrew’s approachable personality and big smile help facilitate that. Andrew is passionate and committed to supporting clients so it will allow them to leave Changing Tides with a plan to enhance their success in leading a sober and healthy life. Andrew is currently in training to become a certified Peer Support Specialist.

When Andrew is not working, he can be found fishing on the beach with his dog Gretta, at the gym, or cooking secret family recipes in his crockpot.

Sandra Briggman, BA in Business

Financial Director, Board Member

 Sandy BriggmanSandra who goes by Sandy Briggman is the Financial Director at Changing Tides Treatment Center on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sandy is a graduate from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Management. The experience that Sandy brings to Changing Tides is her years of working as a Contracts Manager, Pricing Manager, Human Resources Manager, and a company Financial Manager. Sandy feels that working at Changing Tides Treatment Center is a perfect job for her because not only does she get to work as their Financial Manager but she also believes in the company’s philosophy that “Change IS Possible!” In the field of treatment and recovery, Sandy has seen clients come through Changing Tides’ doors and change their lives with the help of the supportive staff. Changing Tides programs and dedication to each person individually has been part of the key to client’s success. Sandy has chosen to work in this field because she feels that treatment and recovery is near and dear to her heart due to her own family’s affliction with alcoholism and drug addiction. It is a family disease and there is hope. Hope and health for the individual and for the family can be achieved through therapy and counseling.

In Sandy’s free time she enjoys spending time with her children and her grandchildren. She is also very talented in Stained Glass and Pottery making and has sold many pieces as well as teaches courses for both arts. Sandy also enjoys living on the Outer Banks and takes advantage of the island as much as she can with water skiing, boating and swimming.

David Briggman, BA in Business

Board Member

David BriggmanDave Briggman is the Operations Director at Changing Tides Treatment Center on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Dave has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics from Villanova University. Dave started his career as a scientist and was quickly promoted to a Research and Development Supervisor and finally to an R & D Manager at Harry Diamond Laboratories. He also worked at Fairchild Weston (Schlumberger / Loral) as a Product Manager, reporting to the General Manager and was responsible for product development and manufacturing, personnel performance, contractor and government relations, and finances. He also worked at Pocal Industries as the General Manager and Vice President and was responsible for all operations of the company. Dave ended up in the Outer Banks because he decided that he needed a change of climates and had vacationed every year to the Outer Banks since he was only a couple of months old. He and his wife bought a motel that was originally called the Buccaneer Motel. He owned and operated that motel for approximately 20 years before deciding to be a part of the change needed in the world in the addiction crisis and has been a major part of changing the motel over from the Buccaneer to Changing Tides Addiction Treatment Center. Dave oversees any function of Changing Tides Company that can affect the quality of performance and client care. Dave also meets occasionally with clients to establish rapport and ensure that they are receiving all they need from the program. Dave feels that the field of addiction recovery is a priority and is very close to home as he has a son in recovery and has witnessed the destruction of families from addiction as he is also a North Carolina Guardian ad Litem volunteer, advocating for abused and neglected children. Dave believes that Changing Tides’ multi-faceted recovery approach is the most effective philosophy in the field. Dave is certified as all staff members are in Medication Management, Client/Patient Rights, Confidentiality of Substance Use Treatment Information, HIPPA, Substance Use Disorders Part 1 and 2, Structured Group Therapy Approaches, Brief Models of Family Therapy, Best Practices in Substance Use Treatment Engagement, Biopsychosocial Model of Addiction, Blood borne Pathogens, CPR/FA Including the Heimlich Maneuver and Seizure Management, Least Restrictive Alternatives and ACA Codes of Ethics. Dave has also won awards for the following:

1976: Department of the Army Research and Development Achievement Award

2006 North Carolina (Governor’s) Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service

2013 College of the Albemarle Coach Conner Award for Excellence in Professional Arts

In his free time Dave enjoys spending time with family which is constantly growing. He also is a lover of sports, especially soccer and football. He enjoys getting together with his peers and playing pickle ball at least 3 times per week and loves taking his boat out on the sound for sunset cruises in the spring, summer and fall months.