Q&A with Doug Paul, LPC, CPCS

Title: Director of Outpatient Services

Facility: Foundations Atlanta at Midtown

Education: MS in rehabilitation counseling from Georgia State University

Hometown: Mt. Dora, Florida

What makes you passionate about treatment?
The thing that I am most passionate about in treatment has to be educating patients and families about using a multi-faceted approach to recovery.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Providing education about what recovery is. This includes supervising interns and therapists, as well as patients and their families.

What would you say to families going through the process of treatment with a loved one?
Recovery is a journey, and it can get rough at times, in the same way that life can get rough sometimes. Find someone you can talk to, who knows what you’re going through. Learn how to support your loved one by learning how to support yourself.

What’s your daily routine?
Get up early, exercise for 45 minutes, eat breakfast with my kids and get them ready for school. Check the traffic! Work. Come home, eat dinner with my wife and two kids and learn about their day. End the day watching Jeopardy! and doing some restful reading.

What do you do to stay energized during the day?
It’s kind of counterintuitive, but on days when I exercise in the morning, I notice that I tend to be more energized throughout the day.

What are your hobbies outside of work?
Spending time with my family, remodeling my house, exercise, surfing and playing music.

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

What’s your favorite thing about the city you live in?
The energy of Atlanta is amazing. There are so many cultural opportunities. We’ve lived here for 14 years and haven’t even touched the surface.

What life accomplishment are you most proud of?
My wonderful yet challenging family life.

If you were stranded on a desert island and you could only take three books with you, what would you choose?
The largest version of any book that I could make a surfboard out of.

How do you know when someone is “getting it” in the treatment process?
I’m not sure there is such a thing. I believe that recovery happens in the moment, so “getting it” implies some level of permanence. If I could reframe that, I would know that someone is beginning to integrate recovery concepts into their life when they relapse either chemically or emotionally and try something different that they were opposed to before. That implies that they are learning, and addiction hates learning.

What advice do you have for people who are entering treatment today?
Do your homework. Our industry is in a bit of an “identity crisis” and finding quality, specialized treatment is becoming more challenging. Start with a therapist that you trust and visit the NAATP website often.

What advice do you have for people who are struggling to maintain recovery?
Come in for an assessment and ask for help.

How have you been inspired by people in recovery?
The way we move on with life in our own way. In spite of our challenges, we can learn how to manage the symptoms of addiction so that they don’t have power over us; and at the same time, recognizing they are chronic in nature. This is the ultimate expression of the first and 12th Steps.

Favorite quote/best advice you’ve ever received?
“If you keep doing what you did, you keep getting what you got.”