Don Middleton, D.O. received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and nutrition from Northern Arizona University. At Western University of Health Sciences in Los Angeles he obtained his medical degree from. Dr. Middleton currently practices addiction medicine at the internationally renowned Meadows Behavioral Health campus in Wickenburg, Arizona after spending 25 years in a private practice in Glendale. He has served in various executive positions of university and hospital medical education and was granted the rank of Assistant Clinical Professor at Midwestern University, where he served as a preceptor and clinical instructor. Dr. Middleton was elected as a Trustee on the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association state Board of Trustees, and is the medical director for Vital4Men, a series of men’s health clinics.
Don has been married for over 30 years to Tracy, and they travel all over the world, including medical mission work in Kenya and Mexico. By far his proudest title is that of “Dad” to four amazing children and “Grandpa” to two grandkids. He loves fly fishing, shooting sports, and bike riding. They have been members of Christ’s Church of the Valley for 20 years.
My road to medical school started with a really great family in Phoenix in the 60’s. The eldest of three kids with a stay-at-home mom was pretty much standard issue in those days, and the baby boom was in high gear with hundreds of potential friends in our suburban neighborhood. A confusing medical issue was the source of a tremendous level of fear, isolation, and shame planting in me the seed of fear that I was somehow made defectively and unworthy of unconditional acceptance, respect or love. My family physician doggedly worked out the problem and eventually cured it. He was my hero, but the emotional damage was done.
My ticket into the “cool kids' club”
High school in the 70’s meant rejecting our parents' instruction, church and school teachings and instead alcohol parties became the Friday night routine. Not only was it my ticket into the “cool kids' club”, but I soon found it also quieted my inner voice that accused me of somehow being inferior, even if only for a few hours. While super achievement allowed me to misbehave with few consequences, I am not above the laws of biology, so abuse and eventually addiction became an ever-increasing problem in my physical health, my relationships, and my emotional well-being. Thankfully God had paired me with a strong, prayerful wife who was willing to speak truth to me even though admitting the truth of being an impaired physician could mean the end of a career, but I was truly broken. I reported myself to the State Medical Board and entered a vigorous treatment and monitoring program for 5 years.
Path to Healing
My treatment included a very heavy dose of 12-step recovery work. That work broke down my self-will, reconnected me to a Savior that was willing to lean into the pain with me. My relationship with the Father was restored and He cleaned up much of the wreckage of my years of abuse. Learning to humble myself to others that were willing to love me as I learned to see myself lovable by my Creator was a type of discipleship only other recovering (and recovered) people could adequately do.
Passing the Baton
While many in recovery choose to remain anonymous, I have been convicted that God’s will for my life is to help others to be freed from the chains of incomprehensible demoralization universally known by those of us in addiction, regardless of the drug of choice. I wish to help them reattach to a healthy church community rather than to substitute lifelong recovery group participation.