Recovery Mission

A local treatment center nurse can relate to patients’ addictions.

David Peterson might not be the typical addiction and recovery nurse. The L.E. Phillips-Libertas Treatment Center colleague rides to work on his Harley motorcycle and considers himself a little rough around the edges. That’s because Peterson never dreamed of becoming a registered nurse. For 30 years, he owned and operated his own construction business.

Peterson also never dreamed of becoming an alcoholic. Among many things, his faith got him through as he began recovery in 1998. When he landed a job at the treatment center nearly 18 years later, after obtaining his nursing degree, working for HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital and HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital spoke to him because of its mission- and faith-based culture.

“The mission statement is what hooked me to come and work here,” he says. “Working here is a perfect fit. It’s a miracle, really. It’s been a blessing, and it saved my life.”

Peterson’s passion for the work and faith in the Sisters’ mission gives him a sense of calm in the chaos. Peterson adds that being a recovering addict gives him credibility with patients, and it also shows them that there can be a future without drugs and alcohol. He’s a living example.

“I tell them I’m an addict and that breaks down some of the barriers,” he says. “You develop a rapport, and there’s that instant bond. I know where they’re coming from.”

Being successful in his recovery has given Peterson a vehicle to help people.

“I see pain, hurt, and hopeless people, and I get to tell them there is a way out,” he says. “There is hope. I’m honored to be here. I was made for this job.”

You may also be interested in “A Tribute to Mike Stibor.”