On August 28, 1978, I graduated from a 28-day treatment program for substance addiction. Less than a year later, in July 1979, I was accepted as an intern at Total Health Medical Center in Oakland, California. This internship was a result of a Vocational Rehabilitation program. My training remained mundane for the first several months, and I received paltry instructions until October 15, 1979. On that day, when I came into work as usual, I walked into the main office and unexpectedly encountered a handsome young man. He introduced himself as David Gust, immediately sharing his infectious and lovely smile. Apparently, he had been hired as Treatment Lead for our unit, thereby becoming my training supervisor. At that time, I was unaware of my new, important, and lifelong friendship that had kindled simply due to employment circumstances.
Under this supervisor/trainee relationship, I received superior training from David due to his wealth of knowledge regarding addiction, addiction treatment, and addiction recovery. Under his stewardship the knowledge I gained was unmatched, and the training went far beyond what I could have hoped for. On July 2, 1980, David gathered the entire staff, including the nurses and those with ownership stakes in the hospital. He presented me with a framed certificate naming me as a Trained Addiction Counselor. This ceremony was incredibly moving to me, and I still have this, my first real professional accomplishment, proudly displayed on my current office wall. As my internship was winding down, David provided significant assistance in ensuring I received employment at Horizon Services, Inc. Because of David’s wealth of knowledge and connections, I was able to start along my eventual career path and am forever grateful.
Due in large part to David’s enthusiastic and genuine encouragement, I went on to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, followed by a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Furthermore, after obtaining licensure in California and Massachusetts, I now own and operate my own private practice in Newton, MA. Were it not for David Gust, I am certain I would not be where I am today. I appreciate David not only for his kindness, but also for his knowledge and encouragement in helping me achieve my professional goals.