From Stealing Underwear to The Kid Whisperer

By John Lavitt 01/29/14

The Beit T'Shuvah Annual Gala celebrates the redemption of No Drug Doug.

Doug Rosen Photo by Jeremy Holden

The 22nd Annual Steps To Recovery Gala of Beit T’Shuvah, the non-profit residential treatment center and full-service Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, celebrated a true success story on January 26, 2014. That night, the center presented the journey of Doug Rosen, an Armani-suited film executive who went from smoking black tar heroin in an underground parking lot to the head of Partners In Prevention, a program that has helped kids across the country.

The goal of the Beit T’Shuvah treatment model has been to allow addicts and alcoholics to recover their passion for life while discovering their authentic path. By offering “a unique blend of Jewish spirituality, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step philosophy and the creative arts," Beit T’Shuvah helps residents reconnect to their souls. A past client who desperately needed that reconnection was Rosen.

Beyond the façade of a movie executive’s swagger, Rosen was caught in a deadly spiral of heroin addiction. The ugly drop finally ended in a humiliating bottom when he was arrested for stealing underwear from Nordstrom’s department store. When Rosen called from jail with the plea, “Mom, you have to get me out. They don’t have bottled water here,” his family knew he needed real help.

Checking into Beit T’Shuvah in 2003, Rosen evolved over time from an entitled drug addict into a family man who met his wife Avia in rehab. Given an opportunity by Rabbi Mark Borovitz, Rosen found his authentic path by embracing “a community approach to helping kids in trouble take a breath, giving them the space to finally just be themselves.” Known as the ‘Kid Whisperer’ by his clients, No Drug Doug has mentored scores of young people and their parents.

Rosen humbly received the Harriet Award - so named after Beit T’Shuvah’s founder - in the presence of 25 families he has helped. When asked what it was like to experience the evolution of the junky who walked through her front door a decade ago into such a man, Harriet Rossetto smiled and said, “It’s the greatest high there is to be part of someone’s redemption.”

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.