I met David Gust in 1990. We both had recently participated in three-day men’s retreats me in Southern California and David Santa Fe New Mexico. We were both on similar journeys committed to our personal growth. We both attended same men’s groups for over 20 years which included a yearly men’s retreat.
Early in these experiences we developed close relationship and became friends. In 1998 he saw that I was in a pivotal moment in my work life and suggested to me to consider being a drug and alcohol counselor. David saw a potential in me that I did not see.
I have been a successful Drug and Alcohol Counselor for the past 20 years. I was 48 years old at that time and took a huge risk, with David’s encouragement and support. I completed the program, in which David was one of the experienced instructors, and launched a new chapter and career in my life. I am grateful for David’s persistence and insight. David had insight and the organizational skills that showed me that I also could become successful. Not only the people that I could assist through rough times but that it was possible to make a sufficient living at counseling. Teaching other helping professionals to better serve and address the adolescent suffering from addiction, a problem that at that time was in need of attention.
David received a Lifetime Achievement Award that made him a Fellow, from the CCAPP, that I was able to attend and watch him as he received his award. David speech was not only funny, but was also provocative. David addressed some of the overlooked aspects of the field, one of which was the nicotine addiction that was not being addressed in the proper manner. He also addressed the, at that time, medical assisted treatment, MAT, that was in its infancy and was controversial. David has a keen insight and ability, that few professionals exhibit, to discuss some of the controversial issues that need addressing.
David has at times in his career overseen multiple staff and has been running multiple offices. David is a dedicated individual and has a deep passion for what he is doing and places a high value on the welfare of his fellows. I see David not only as a mentor but am grateful to also have him as a friend.