Robin Peavler, MD, FACEP

Dr. Peavler is a dad of three and a granddad of two and the ABAM-certified medical director of SelfRefind, a network of opiate addiction recovery clinics in Kentucky and Tennessee.

What’s your specialty? I’m a board-certified emergency physician, and I practiced emergency medicine for 24 years. In the emergency department, I saw a huge need to address the growing epidemic of the disease of opiate addiction, so I made a career change. I became certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine and began practicing addiction medicine as the medical director of SelfRefind, a network of opiate addiction recovery clinics in Kentucky and Tennessee.

How many children do you have, and what are their ages? I have a 15-year-old and a 16-year-old son and a 29-year-old stepson.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a dad, and how did you overcome it?  When I wife and I got married, I became a stepfather to a 12-year-old boy overnight, and then had two toddlers in the next two years. I went from being a single guy to a dad of three. I just rolled with it, and I tried to take one day at a time. Working as an ER doc meant doing a lot of shift work, and it was hard to spend enough time with my family. Early on, I tried to make as much time as I could for my wife and kids when I wasn’t working, and later, I rearranged my schedule. I did less shift work so I could be home with my kids when they were awake. Eventually, I changed careers, and now I have more flexible hours and more control over my schedule.

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you much earlier? Use a condom. No, seriously, I wish someone had told me that you can’t expect your children to be the way you thought they would be. You can’t change their personalities; they’re born with them to some degree. You can’t make their goals for them, either. Even if your kid isn’t a chip off the old block, you have to love him for who he is, and not for who you want him to be.

What’s the most underrated thing about fatherhood? When your kids are young, they’re so innocent, and they love you unconditionally. You have to work hard to be worthy of that love. It’s the greatest thing in the world.

Career, marriage, kids … How does a guy stay sane? Keep a few close friends, and keep up with them so you can laugh with them and enjoy their company. It’s important to do something with people outside the family every now and then to keep your sanity, and to keep life fun.