Community Character: 1-on-1 peer mentoring helps recovering alcoholic help others

Doug Gould is the Executive Director at Foundations For Recovery, an addiction recovery center in Medford. (KTVL/Mike Marut)

Doug Gould used to drink.

"I always felt comfortable coming back to Doug and saying look, I messed up this weekend," Andrew Jensen said.

He identified his addiction and stayed sober for years until one particularly trying time in his life.

"He knows what it's like to hit rock bottom, and he knows what it's like to be there and he knows what it's like to lift you up," Keith Lyons said.

He had a divorce and his parents died within weeks of each other.

"Last year I had a really close overdose with heroin and the only person to come and see me was Doug," Misty Horton said.

Doug figured he could have one beer and be okay, but that beer turned into years of more drinking and relapse.

"He's just very compassionate, very kind, he can meet you where you're at," Jill Hinojosa said.

His last bad relapse was in 2010.

"I remember laying on the gurney and crying out to God, 'how did I get here? What did I do?' and the lights somewhat started to fade and I said, 'God don't take my light away, give me one more chance,'" Doug said.

That chance became Foundations For Recovery. He found helping addicts like Andrew, Keith and Misty, in a peer-to-peer environment, sharing his story, helped them connect and recover from their own addictions. Andrew is on his way to becoming a coach while Keith is already a coach at FFR. Misty is still in the middle of her recovery.

"DHS removed my child from my care and that was my rock bottom," Keith remembered. "I came in strung out on methamphetamines and drunk off alcohol and needing help. [Now,]I've got two years and three-four months sober."

For Misty, Doug became a personal connection like family.

"We got really, really close," Misty said. "My kids call him Papa Doug and I don't have a dad, so he's like a dad-figure for me. And I got in trouble by him, just like a dad!"

No matter how many times people who come to FFR relapse, they are welcomed back with open arms.

"He's been the one constant while I went through this journey too," Andrew said. "Always welcoming me back, 'hey brother I love you' - he's got a big bear hug for me."

"If I can help someone to clear away the debris, the damage that addiction causes in families, children and in their own life - help someone clear away the past, the foundation is still good and we can rebuild the life," Doug said.

Doug has been executive director of FFR for several years, and hasn't looked back. The best part is he's doing the work right at home.

"Because we are family here in Medford," Doug said. "Medford's a great place to live, it still is. It can even be better."

If you would like to submit a nomination for Community Character, email News 10's Mike Marut or send him a message on Facebook.

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