Paul Waters is the Executive Director of Inpatient Services for Midwest Detox Center in Maumee, Ohio. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Waters has a wealth of both professional and personal experience in substance use recovery. He’s worked in the field since 1981, and has been sober since 1979.
“I was strictly an alcoholic,” he said. “On June 4, 1979, after four or five years of going in and out of treatment centers, I went to treatment for what I hope to be the last time.”
Shortly after sobriety, Waters went to live in a halfway house; he describes it the “best six-month investment of my life.” It was there that he became friendly with the owner of a treatment center.
“He and I had some pretty decent talks before and after meetings,” Waters said. “He told me that once I got a couple years of sobriety under my belt, he could give me a position at his 140- bed facility in New Hampshire.”
At one year and nine months of sober, on March 1, 1981, Waters accepted a position at Beech Hill Hospital in Dublin, New Hampshire. And so began his decades- long career in substance use treatment.
“I started there as a driver and stayed 17 years,” he said. “When I left, I was the CEO.”
In addition to driver and CEO, Waters has been a nurse’s aid, an admissions specialist, a member of the counseling team, and the director of business development at treatment centers around the country.
Early this year, Waters resigned from his position as the head of a 157-bed facility in Philadelphia when he was approached by Casey Bright, Matt Bell, and Josh Dressel from Midwest Detox Center. Waters was immediately intrigued by the Midwest facilities’ culture and tight-knit crew.
“I’ve always worked with people who are very close,” he said. “When I visited Ohio, I just felt that same sense of community and camaraderie. I was thrilled when they made me an offer. I want to finish my career in a place that really understands the people we are trying to help.”
In his position as Executive Director, Waters says he’ll spend a lot of time with each and every staff member, from the clinical team to the drivers, the behavioral health technicians to the nurses.
In a long career in substance use treatment, Waters says there have been highs and lows–but the highs keep him coming back.
“It can be a bittersweet career,” he said. “You read or hear about men and women who have overdosed and passed away, but you also run into folks who have been successful; they’re the reason we come day in and day out. We’re in the business of saving lives.”
Waters is confident in his own track record, and even more confident in the abilities of the ever-growing staff of the Midwest facilities. In his short time with the Amatus company, he feels at home.
“When I hang it up, I think I will be able to say I put my best foot forward every day so that another person could live another day,” he said. “To be able to be a part of that day in and day out is still very exciting to me. I hope to be a part of this team as long as they’ll keep me.”