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Selecting a program that is a good fit can seem to be an overwhelming task. We are here to be a resource for you, answer any questions you may have, and provide any insight you will need to make an informed decision. Give us a call or send an email and we will be happy to begin the process.

Our Philosophy

Momentum Recovery is built on the assumption that connection is the antidote to addiction. The more that we are able to connect our residents to the world around them, the higher their chances of success.

In order to facilitate that connection, we provide our residents with a continuum of care that incorporates a myriad of services including ongoing outpatient therapy with therapists that specialize in working with young adults, personalized case management, involvement in the local recovery community, family programming, adventure based therapy, educational support, financial skills development, vocational support, nutritional support and endless opportunities for fun and recreation.

The founders of Momentum Recovery have worked with young adults in a variety of settings for many years. A considerable amount of their experience was gained in adventure based residential addiction treatment where they both worked tirelessly to assist young people in developing a sense of meaning, purpose, and serenity.

Our Staff

We understand the recovery process. And we know that you can find success. The staff at Momentum Recovery is committed to helping you get where you want to go. To do this we move our residents through a phase system that allows them to experience increased autonomy at the right time as they progress in their recovery.


Rick Barney, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, MAC, CCS

Co-Founder and CEO

As a native of coastal North Carolina, Rick is extremely excited to return home and continue his work with young people and their families who are struggling to overcome the devastation of addiction.  He is passionate about this work and truly believes that, with adequate support, everyone has the capacity to fully recover and live a life characterized by meaning, purpose and personal responsibility.

Prior to opening Momentum Recovery, Rick worked in various addiction and mental health treatment settings.  His experience includes: operating a private practice specializing in treating adolescents, young adults, and families impacted by addiction; assisting with the opening of a cutting edge residential substance abuse treatment program for young adults; treating individuals with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders; facilitating wilderness expeditions for young adults with co-occurring disorders; managing a transitional living program for adolescents affected by addiction; and the facilitation of experiential programs for at risk high school students.

Rick is a licensed clinical social worker, a licensed clinical addiction specialist, a master addiction counselor, and a certified clinical supervisor. He has extensive training in dual diagnosis treatment, relapse prevention, trauma treatment, family systems approaches, and experiential therapy.

In his free time, Rick is often found surfing, traveling, playing outdoors and enjoying time with friends and family.

David Neal, CSAC-I

Co-Founder and COO

After his own personal struggles as a child and young adult, David got his start in the Texas prison system as a counselor intern in the felony DWI program.  This is where he fell in love with the sense of service to others and his community.  David and his wife Jessi were looking for a change and moved to North Carolina in late 2010.  David worked his way up to a Master Guide of Wilderness Therapy after a few years.

He loves to share his passion for the healing aspect of the outdoors with men and women in early recovery.  David, his wife Jessi, and daughters Eden and Emery love to spend their time at the beach, hiking, fishing, playing golf, and watching the Dallas Cowboys.

Heidi Zeppelin, MSW, LCSW, LCAS

Clinical Director

Heidi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a passion for trauma treatment. She is originally from New York where she attended Adelphi University and obtained her degrees in Social Work. After graduating, Heidi remained in New York working with adolescents and children in group homes and foster care who were also struggling with substance abuse, trauma, and involved in the juvenile justice system. In 2015, she moved to North Carolina to continue working with young adults and families affected by addiction and has truly enjoyed this rewarding experience. In her free time, (and because self-care is so important), Heidi enjoys exercising, going to the beach, and spending time with her fiancé and their dogs, Buddy & Aussie.

Carson Pitts

Outreach and Admissions Specialist

Carson grew up in Charlotte, NC and spent many of his summers living and working on the NC Coast. After struggling through college using drugs and alcohol, Carson was able to graduate but was unable to keep a job. He needed help but was unwilling to accept it. After failing to try and get sober on his own Carson went to a wilderness recovery program in Western North Carolina. Following treatment this program recommended Momentum Recovery, a newly established extended care and sober living program with veteran leadership in Wilmington, NC.  Coastal living appealed to Carson. And as one of Momentum’s first clients he found a very vibrant and supportive recovery community in which he thrived.  While in the program, Carson set goals and progressed promptly, learning valuable skills along the way that set him up for success.

Upon graduation from Momentum, Carson felt at home in Wilmington and went to work for a local landscaping company.  Eager to give back to the recovery community and passionate about helping young men find a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle, Carson joined the Momentum team in May 2018.  Carson now knows how to have fun in sobriety and enjoys anything outdoors: agriculture/gardening, fishing, running, golf and outdoor music festivals.

David Wickham, CSAC

Primary Therapist

David has been gratefully clean and sober for over 16 years. He has almost 10 years of experience in the substance abuse field, and has gained recognition for his creative, out-of-the-box therapeutic techniques, utilizing a variety of experiences to develop and foster self-examination, acceptance and growth. David is influenced by Person-Centered, Reality, and Dialectical Behavioral modalities, but draws upon a variety of approaches based on the needs of the individual. In addition to counseling, David is passionate about surfing, the beach life, music, reading, learning a variety of subjects, and spending time with his wife, family, friends, and his dog, Maggie Mae.

Beth Barrington, LCMHC, LPC

Family Therapist

Beth was originally born and raised in the Winston-Salem/Clemmons area of North Carolina. She spent summer vacations relaxing with family at the beach. She has been in the recovery field for more than 10 years working with young adults, couples, and families experiencing substance abuse and mental health challenges. As a recovering codependent herself, she specializes in codependency, trauma, anxiety, and depression. She passionately works through the lens of experiential and psychodrama therapies which incorporate music, art, props, creativity, and action-oriented techniques. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids on the beach or on a cruise.

Daysja Phillips, MSW

Community Connection Specialist


Daysja grew up on a small family farm in Southeastern Louisiana. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Social Work at the University of North Carolina– Wilmington. Prior to joining the Momentum team, Daysja spent several years doing both case management and volunteer work with individuals experiencing homelessness.Through her work, she developed a passion for helping those struggling with substance use disorders, which led her to the field of social work.

In her downtime, Daysja enjoys knitting, paddle boarding, and hanging out with her dog and her fiancé.

Jake Bauer

Account Manager

Jake was born and raised here in North Carolina. Winston-Salem being his hometown. He struggled with addiction while in college and dropped school altogether. He had several failed attempts at sobriety. After some trauma therapy paired with substance abuse counseling, Jake was able to find a purpose in his life which he had struggled with in the past. After Jake’s most recent rehab he came here to Momentum as a client. Jake was, by far, the staff’s favorite client. While in Momentum he was able to develop important life skills that have helped him thrive here in Wilmington. As a client he found much joy in helping others, especially others in recovery. Upon his graduation, he decided it would best suit him to stick around Momentum as a staff member. Jake is going back to school in hopes of earning a B.A. in Mathematics. He also enjoys playing hockey and golf. He swears up and down that hockey is the greatest sport in the world.

Gabrielle Neal-Barney, MMS, PA-C, CAQ-Psych

Medical Director

Gabrielle Neal, PA-C (or Gabi as she is known at Momentum) recently joined the team in June 2017.

Gabi grew up in Lumberton, NC and attended undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She then attended Methodist University and received her Masters of Medical Sciences in Physician Assistant Studies in 2007. Over the last ten years, she has practiced in Occupational Medicine, Pediatrics, and for the last four years specialized solely in Addiction Medicine.

Gabi is passionate about working with individuals suffering from the disease of addiction. She has found that maintaining compassion and empathy are keys to aid healing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction. She fully believes that every interaction with a client is an opportunity to make a difference. In her free time, Gabi enjoys playing with her two sons, spending time with family and friends, driving on the beach, and taking trips to the mountains.

Caitlin Rainwater, MS, LPC, LCAS-A

Primary Therapist

Caitlin is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a passion for helping people embrace their authentic self and live life passionately and intentionally. After attending graduate school in Georgia, Caitlin chose Atlanta as her new home where she spent the next 8 years working in a variety of settings treating adolescents and adults with both mental health and substance use disorders. Caitlin found her way back home to NC where she lives with her husband and two children, Navy and Indy. She enjoys creativity, the beach, and almost anything outdoors. She believes that success is helping another human being move closer towards reaching their full potential in life, and hopes each day to make a positive impact on someone’s life.

Jayson Ainsworth, MSW, LCAS

Primary Therapist

Jayson is a native of Wilmington and a has been working in the substance use disorder treatment community since 2016. After graduating from Catawba with a degree in Sociology, Jayson worked at a state-funded addiction treatment program and pursued his CADC, gaining valuable insight into treatment of prolonged and chronic substance misuse. After completing his CADC, Jayson decided to return to school at UNCW and complete the clinical social work master’s program. Influenced by holistic and person-centered treatment approaches, Jayson set his sights on helping his clients expand their connection and contact with others. After graduation, Jayson again felt compelled to serve the population he was passionate about and with whom he identified most closely. While not in the office, you can usually find Jayson spending time with family, surfing, or trying to get lost in the woods.

Jack Gillespie

Case Manager

Jack, born and raised in New York, graduated from Elon University 2015. Jack has struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction since his freshman year in high school. Jack failed to see the impact his addiction was taking on his personal and professional relationships. Finally, after much pushback, Jack accepted an offer to go to a wilderness treatment program in Bend, Oregon in the fall of 2017. The experience had a profound impact on Jack and realized if he wanted to have a successful life in sobriety he would need additional care. Jack came to Momentum as a client and began building his network here in Wilmington. Jack is at his best when he is in service to others and feels it is paramount that he continues to give back. He has started to work towards his CSAC credentials and was recently accepted to UNC-Wilmington’s MSW program. When not working, you can find Jack surfing, at the local rock gym or taking pictures around Wilmington.


Tyler Harrington, CSAC-I

Program Manager

Tyler grew up in Fayetteville, NC with his loving Mother, Father, and Sister. He has lived in Wilmington, West Virginia, and then Asheville where he began a long term treatment program. There he learned many things about himself and the tools for sustained recovery. Tyler has been sober for 6 plus years and looks forward to helping others grow in their recovery as he continues on his amazing journey. He has recently received his Certified Substance Abuse Counselor-Intern certification. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, going to the gym, playing sports, and hanging with his pup, Emma. Tyler recently became engaged to the love of his life!