Overcoming Addiction: Medford pastor uses own story of addiction to minister to others

MEDFORD, Ore. — A Medford man is using his own story of addiction and recovery to help others find a way out of that lifestyle.

“I’m a firm believer, whatever God delivers you from he gives you a voice for, and one of the tenants of the program is to keep it you have to give it away.”

Doug Gould felt like an outsider from a young age.

“I started drinking and I noticed that when I was drinking, I had a little bit better personality I was able to fit in and I was accepted by my peers,” Gould said.

When he was just 13, Doug found that drinking made him feel good, gave him a sense of belonging and allowed him to be included.

“By the time I hit ninth grade, I was a full-blown alcoholic.”

At that young age, Doug realized he was headed down a dark path and had to turn his life around.

“For 21 years, I never battled with it, never went to one meeting. I never sought out recovery, because I just focused on putting my spiritual house in order.”

But it didn’t last. Years later, He found himself back in the thick of his addiction.

“Unfortunately, I went through a divorce, at the same time that the death of my parents and I had this crazy idea that it’s been 21 years, I can have one drink.”

That one drink started a series of events that led to a DUII, being kicked out of the family home on Christmas, and his heart-stopping at a Medford hospital.

“They laid me completely flat down they flipped on the switches the bells were going off, and they started putting iv in my arm. I said ‘what’s happening?’ and she says you’re on the verge of cardiac arrest. Then, I heard triage one and I remember looking up the lights, and I said, ‘how did I get here?’ I said ‘don’t take my life away, God, give me one more chance’.”

Doug got his chance, and since that day he’s worked hard to pull himself out of his addiction with the help of 12 Step Program and other recovery programs. He now works to help others as an addictions recovery counselor at the ROC in Medford. Looking back on his addiction he says he would never want to take another drink, but it’s not just his faith that’s gotten him to this point.

“I started going to my first meetings, started learning about my addiction and my disease. I started work on the 12 steps going to every meeting, then all that desire of wanting to help someone else came back.”

For Doug, it takes equal give and take to be able to continue down his path to recovery, and now he’s using what he’s learned in his faith and his 12 step program to help others.

“It’s so rewarding. Have we lost several people? Yeah. That’s what this this this disease does. This is what addiction does. But I will tell you, it’s so rewarding to see when someone gets it.”

He says he wants to make sure others never have to feel like outsiders to their own lives again.

“It’s so cool to see because the program works, recovery works, but you got to work it.”

If you are struggling with addiction, know there is help available but it’s up to you to take that step.

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