Meet the Team at Sea Change Recovery


Josh Lazie

Program Director / CEO

Josh Lazie is CEO at Sea Change Recovery in Santa Monica, CA

Josh Lazie has worked in treatment for over 15 years and helped hundreds of people on their journey to recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.

When Josh decided to help addicts full time, his unique life experiences made him the perfect sober companion. He was able to help clients learn the tools necessary for recovery from addiction because he had the unique perspective of having lived in their shoes.

The next obvious step was to help more people by starting his own treatment center. Josh felt something was missing from traditional treatment. As CEO/Program Director of Sea Change Recovery Josh fills in the missing link and guides Sea Change in its mission to offer specialized, multifaceted treatment. Josh is a loving father and an avid photojournalist.

Amanda Ferrara

Clinical Director

Amanda is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. She completed her graduate studies at Antioch university where she received a Masters degree in clinical psychology. 

Amanda began working in substance abuse and mental health treatment in 2010. 

She is passionate about helping individuals gain a better sense of self and finding balance within their lives. During her free time she enjoys hiking with her dogs. 

Lisa Benya D.O.

Addiction Specialist

Dr. Lisa Benya is an internal medicine doctor servicing the Malibu community for many years. Her caring and compassionate approach has earned her a great reputation for being one of the area’s favorite doctors.

She is a board-certified physician who as an internist broadened her scope to include more serious and chronic conditions including addiction medicine.

Dr. Benya has been in practice for more than 20 years and affiliated with many hospitals. Her undergraduate work began at the Boston University School of Medicine and attended Medical School at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Darren Lipshitz M.D.

Addiction Specialist

Dr. Darren Lipshitz is an Addiction Medicine specialist who recently joined the 90265 Medical Group in Malibu.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, he moved to the USA at a young age and has been an American citizen since 1985. Although his country of birth has had a profound impact on his values of social justice, he has found that the United States shares those ideals of liberty and equality. This can be seen through volunteer work throughout his career.

Dr. Lipshitz attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas where he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology. He then attended the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for his degree in Medicine. After four cold winters in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, he moved to the more appealing climate of Northern California where he continued his medical training and completed a Residency in Family Medicine at the UCSF-affiliated program in Salinas.

He ran a solo, private practice in Sausalito CA in the early part of his career, where he was the “town doc” for many families. This included all demographics, from the affluent in the vista-rich hills to the anchor-outs on the water to the underserved population in neighboring Marin City, where he also helped the community establish their own Federally-Qualified Health Center.

Eventually, Dr. Darren relocated to Southern California to be closer to family and to enjoy the warmer sands of Santa Barbara.

Also looking for new challenges professionally, he became Board Certified and working in the field of Addiction Medicine. He has never stopped seeing patients through primary care eyes and still has a “town doc” heart which lends itself well to the specialized field of Addiction Medicine and the complex physical and social issues often encountered.

When not working Dr. Darren enjoys taking his only child, the four-legged furry Billi, to the beach or park for a game of fetch. He may also be spotted reading at a coffee shop or exploring a hiking trail.

Craig Smith M.D.

Addiction Specialist

Dr. Craig V. Smith, M.D. is a former organ transplant surgeon, who now dedicates his practice to addiction medicine. He received his M.D. degree from the UCLA School of Medicine. Dr. Smith then completed his general surgical residency at Harbor-UCLA medical center and his multi-organ transplant surgical fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh medical center. He returned to UCLA medical center to start his career in academic transplant surgery, performing transplants, teaching students and residents while also conducting research on transplantation for the treatment of diabetes. During his academic career as an associate professor of surgery, Dr. Smith performed more than 500 organ transplants at UCLA, UC Irvine and the City of Hope National Medical Center.

Since alcohol and drug use are leading causes of organ damage leading to the need for a transplant, Dr. Smith learned about addiction by listening to his patients. More importantly, since a requirement to receive an organ transplant is abstinence from using alcohol and drugs, Dr. Smith learned about recovery from listening to his patients. After listening over the years, pursuing self-study and continuing medical education in the field of addiction, in 2009 Dr. Smith decided to dedicate his career to addiction medicine.

Dr. Smith is board certified in Addiction Medicine by both the American Board of Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

William D. Stanley M.D.

Addiction Specialist

Dr. William D. Stanley received his Doctorate of Medicine degree from UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, NJ.  He did his Residency training at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, PA.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Md.  He did 1 year of a Master’s program in Anatomy at the University of Maryland Baltimore City campus prior to matriculating to medical school that next year.

He has worked in Internal Medicine for the majority of his professional life both inpatient and outpatient.  He started Parkside Medical Assoc, PA in Trenton, NJ, employing 4 physicians.  He noticed he had an interest in substance abuse and started involvement with ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) in 1998.  He completed his Boards in ASAM in 2000 and, later, by ABAM (American Board of Addiction Medicine) in 2010.  Since 2013 he has concentrated his time exclusively to the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders.  Prior to his joining Dr. Benya and her team in California, he was Medical Director of both an inpatient detox unit and 2 outpatient treatment programs, all located in New Jersey.  He has an active license to practice medicine in both New Jersey and California.

Chris Nelson

Administrative Director, Compliance Officer

Chris Nelson was introduced into the treatment community after overcoming his own addiction to drugs and alcohol. Utilizing his own experience with recovery, Chris decided to help others struggling with addiction. Chris is responsible for ensuring Sea Change’s continuous compliance with State regulations, as well as maintaining our Joint Commission accreditation.

With years of experience in the treatment industry, Chris ensures Sea Change provides the highest level of care to our clients and ensures we exceed JCAHO and DHCS standard of care. During his journey in recovery, Chris decided to go back to school and is currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science & Engineering.

Benjamin Bradley, CADC-II

Case Manager

Ben is a CCAPP certified counselor with experience in multiple roles in the treatment profession starting in 2010. Obtaining sobriety after multiple treatment attempts had failed him, Ben found his passion for helping others with creatively treating addiction and co-occurring disorders by identifying, challenging and acting on where other treatment centers fall short. He acquired the bulk of his training under a LCSW and MFT where he helped to impact the lives of multiple teens and their families through their therapeutic mentoring program.

Ben now helps others push through their self doubt, anxiety, depression and addiction through case management and the surf & adventure therapy programs at Sea Change. Ben assists clients using active listening, empathy, empowerment and modeling healthy confrontation to build the mental fortitude needed for sustaining long-term recovery.

Matthew Pentkowski

Director of Admissions

Matt has worked in the addiction field since 2012. He obtained his masters degree in psychology from Antioch University. After working as a counselor at sea change for several years, he now enjoys helping clients and their families make the crucial first step in transforming their lives through recovery.

Recovery: Do You Want It?

Sea Change Recovery is here to help those who want it. We have been through the process and understand that it takes work to stay clean + sober. Are you ready to do the work?

We’ve Been in Your Shoes.
Let Us Help You Find Recovery.

Together We Can Overcome Addiction

Don’t Wait For Tomorrow.  Change Your Life Today.

The Sea Change Recovery Logo in Santa Monica



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