For Doug Winter, his life’s calling is two-fold: he wants to be a good father and husband and he wants to be a supportive, effective influence in his clients’ efforts to overcome their addictions. His wife and little ones – three children under four years old…whew! – are the most important and rewarding part of his life, he says. The sense of purpose his work brings to his life is also very important to him.
Doug is a primary therapist at Prescott House, an addiction treatment center in northern Arizona. His job is to counsel men through the challenging and often heart-wrenching process of starting to recover from addiction. It’s hard work, of course. But it’s worth every minute, he says.
“People trust you in a way that’s rare,” says Doug. “I treat a lot of sex addiction, for example. Sex addiction takes a huge toll on both the person and his family. And these people let me go into their marriage and help them put the pieces back together. It’s an honor and a privilege.”
Doug has received special training in various aspects of mental health and addiction including a master’s degree in addiction counseling, but he says the most valuable input that he can offer to a client comes from his own personal experience. Like many Prescott House employees, Doug is a graduate of the center’s treatment program.
For 10 years, while he was living in Chicago and working as a certified public accountant, Doug was depressed anxious and unhappy. Eventually, he decided to seek help and found his way to Prescott House. After he successfully completed the program, he started to rethink his personal and professional goals. He decided that accounting wasn’t the right career for him. He wanted to work with people, and in a way that felt meaningful. So, he applied for a job at a nearby recovery center and worked there for a short while before coming back to Prescott House to work as a medication technician.
“Prescott House feels like home,” says Doug. “Every day when I come to work, it feels like coming home. It feels like a safe, nurturing place.”
In his six years as an employee at Prescott House, Doug has worked in several different roles, including managing the center’s aftercare group and running the eating disorder program before becoming a primary therapist in the residential program three years ago.
He knew right away that therapy was his calling.
“My personal experience is the most valuable asset I have,” says Doug. “I think knowing first-hand what it’s like to go through what our clients go through gives us an added layer of empathy and compassion that helps them.”
Not all days are rosy, for sure. Unfortunately, there are some clients who regress or plateau during treatment and continue to make life-limiting choices. When that happens, those days are hard for Doug.
But, there are a lot of days that are wonderfully affirming, too, he says. Like when he gets a phone call from a program graduate, telling him how well things are going in their new life.
“Once a month or so I get a call from somebody, telling me about their life today and about how I helped them get back on track,” says Doug. “And that feels good; it’s validating.”
Contact us if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Doug and the other therapists and staff members at Prescott House can help you get back on track. We understand what you’re going through and we want to help.