I currently work at Turning Point’s Free to Choose Program as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-III). Prior to this, I worked in several capacities within the field of Chemical Dependency treatment (CD).
I first began working with David Gust in September of 2017 when he hired me to work under his supervision as a counselor-in-training (RADT-I) at New Directions Program (NDP) in Fair Oaks, CA. In addition to the many hundreds of hours of regular supervision David provided as I pursued my certification (CADC-I), David devoted an equal amount of his time to help me with some of the practical aspects of being a counselor that are not as frequently addressed: these included self-care, stress tolerance and management, and personal growth and development. Among these aspects, I also had the opportunity to learn from common mistakes.
With David, any errors or room for improvement were always met with constructive feedback. This approach helped me further understand the integral components of integrity, providing me the opportunity to consult without reservation and remain ethical in all my practices. Prior to my employment at NDP, I worked as a Registered Social Worker, but I’d always dreamed of becoming a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor, and with David’s help I was given this opportunity.
As part of the process to become a CADC-I, it is necessary to complete coursework that is the equivalent of a 4-semester (Associate’s Degree) curriculum, a practicum (an internship augmented with coursework), and 2,000 hours of supervised work in the field before one can sit for the certification test. Now, in the state of California, one has a number of options when it comes to pursuing and completing the coursework and practicum portions of the certification process: these range from modern correspondence courses to institutions in the University of California (UC) system. Regardless of the route one takes, all courses are accredited and will give the participant a thorough grounding in the twelve “Core Functions” that comprise the bulk of the international certification test. However, they cannot—any of them—equal the education I received from David. I had the opportunity of learning some of the foundations within the field such as the difference between recovery and sobriety, lapse versus relapse, disease progression and how the addiction recovery process progresses variably person-to-person.
David assisted in promoting and maximizing my personal strengths and finding areas I could improve, resulting in the most beneficial recovery process for the client and their family. Another key component of my learning experience at NDP was understanding whole health recovery, not just cessation of substance use, but integrating nutrition, diet, exercise, sleep, stress management, and how this orthomolecular approach was paramount to the progression of recovery while educating the client on how to apply these areas often overlooked by other programs. I am honored to say the information in which I incorporate currently in the counseling services I provide is due to the foundations I learned from David, his dedication to providing a thorough understanding of the client, the impact on family, the disease of addiction, the recovery process, and most importantly, how to best facilitate recovery to those in need.
I’ve had many mentors and supervisors in the helping profession including case management, social work, and undergraduate field supervisors; I must say David took great time to ensure two things, while I pursued my dream of working in the field, and that was the importance of self-care as it is the foundation to effectively provide long term services, and the importance of ethical living. Indubitably, David has been the best supervisor because he truly offered everything at his disposal to promote my advancement and I’m forever grateful for his friendship.