Month: December 2014

12 Sober Tips for the Holiday Season

1.) Try to spend the holidays with people who are okay with remaining abstinent.

The first and foremost tip for the holiday season in recovery is to protect yourself at all costs. Try and spend the holidays around people who are either also in recovery or simply not drinking. Not all of us have this luxury, however early recovery calls for a change in how we do things. If you can, spend most of your time with people who are not under the influence.

2.) When visiting family or friends, stay vigilant and raise awareness.

Many of us do have family members who do drink, and so a good idea when visiting home is to make everyone aware that you are not drinking and that is final. It allows others to be aware of you and keep you accountable, but it also relieves the pressure that you may have in your mind causing you to act out on behaviors that could follow a trigger.

3.) Have your sponsor, or a friend, on speed-dial.

The minute you begin to feel something or someone to be slightly triggering, call someone you trust! Oftentimes this is our sponsor, but it can also simply be a friend in recovery who you feel comfortable speaking to. Who knows, maybe they will need to speak to you as much as you to them!

4.) Spend your night around someone who supports you.

Ranging from your mom to your brother to a cousin or a family friend, spend your night or your extended holidays around someone who supports you in your recovery. The best kind of people to spend the holiday season with are the ones that cheer you on no matter what the situation. The holiday season isn’t about gritting your teeth and bearing the full weight of scrutiny. Remember that.

5.) If the situation is dire, be brief.

If you have knowledge that your family or the people you’re spending the holidays with are going to be drinking to excess and you are not okay with it, drop by for a brief visit with plans in mind to spend it elsewhere as well. Share that you are very busy and balancing your time this holiday season to see everyone you can, but also tell the truth by making real plans with other people who do support your recovery in an environment you can stay clean. The last thing you want to do is lie to them about where you’re going!

6.) Stay busy, help out, don’t isolate, and become involved.

Complacency and boredom are two things that feed addictive behaviors the right kind of food to flourish. Yes, the holidays are about relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, but if you don’t become involved in your family’s activities, how are you supposed to avoid these negative feelings? Participate in conversations and family outings if there are some. Be the one taking the pictures, but also be IN the pictures! Become invested in your loved ones and they will do the same for you. This keeps you focused, busy, and stops your mind from wandering off into the corner to be alone.

7.) Be honest about how you feel, but don’t expect them to change for you.

Our family and friends have spent a long time battling our addiction and the last thing they need is for you, the recovering addict, to dictate how they should behave around the holidays. To ask them to not drink may be an option, but realistically it isn’t something anyone would suggest to ask your family to do. After all, why should they once again adapt for you because you’re finally sober again? If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, tell them in an understanding way before, during, or after the occasion. Don’t leave it too late and make a mess of things either with your mood or your behavior. Resentments are built upon staying quiet at the worst of times.

8.) Hit a meeting on the days you normally wouldn’t.

Many of us disregard meetings around the holidays because we think the doors will be closed for the few days we normally spend at home. Wrong! Around this time of the year there are even MORE meetings than there normally would be just because of the stress even normal people incur without the added pressure of temptation. Find one in your community using Google or a meeting list. The Vancouver Recovery Club, for example, has 24 hour meetings on the holidays.

9.) Write a plan out.

If you are going away or even just staying at home, write out a plan of exactly what you’re doing on the days you’re spending in a higher-than-normal-risk environment. Schedule your meetings, your destinations, and if you have to, keep it hour-to-hour in regards to what you’ll be doing to lower any amount of surprises that can throw us off emotionally or mentally. Addicts hate change, so create a plan and stick to it.

10.) Let people know where you are.

Everyone in recovery has an idea, generally, as to what other people in recovery are up to because we live our lives in transparency. Why should the holidays be any different? Let someone like your sponsor or close friends know where you’re going, what time you’ll be back, and keep them updated while you’re away from them. Texts, phone calls, or Snapchats are a good way to quickly correspond with your support group.

11.) If you don’t have any holiday plans, make some.

The majority of North Americans in our communities do something special during the holiday season. If you have no plans because of distance from family or friends, spend it with someone who can include you in theirs. There are ALWAYS people inviting others to come over for dinner, for the day, or even overnight to spend the holidays with their family members. Two is better than one, and five is better than four. The last thing you want to do is spend your holiday season alone as this is a recipe for self-sabotaging your own recovery. Don’t feel like spending it with someone else’s family? Volunteer. Find a local charity or institution and get involved.

12.) Most importantly after all is said and done, enjoy yourself!

The holiday season is typically a time where people want to enjoy themselves. Have fun when you’re with your family. If an environment is negative and people are in negative moods, be the change in that room that you weren’t before in your addiction. Take pride in the fact that you are somewhere you may or may not have been before, but mostly because you’re somewhere inherently crucial to your own recovery right now – with people who care about you and love you. Unconditional optimism costs nothing. Enjoy yourself this holiday season and take care of those around you!

From all of us at Together We Can, we wish you a sober, safe, and happy holidays with friends, family, and loved ones!

Mindfulness and Meditation Program

Yoga, acupuncture, and our mindfulness and meditation program offered by our counsellor Jarred Blancard encompass what it means to be balanced at Together We Can. Recovery depends on being mindful of oneself and the environment they live in.

“A combination of contemporary and ancient meditation styles teaching the client relaxation and personal insight techniques.  Effective aids to recovery and life in general.  The ultimate objective being a type of engaged meditation that is not relegated to the meditation hall.”

-Jarred Blancard

Call or email us to inquire about this new offering. Mindfulness is only a step away.

A Bright Holiday Experience

The holiday season at TWC has been going strong! On December 15th, clients from Together We Can were gifted with the opportunity to attend the Capilano Canyon Lights in celebration of the holiday season. The BC Fire Fighters Burn Fund made a generous donation of tickets for our men in treatment and anticipation lasted throughout the weekend leading up to Monday’s trip. With the support of TWC volunteers, our clients made their way to the Canyon Lights with cameras in hand and smiles abound. Extravagant burning lights enveloped the canyon as the men walked through a gorgeous display of carefully and artistically placed lights in nature’s hideaway.

One client had this to say about his experience at the event:

“To be clean and do something like this with my friends is different for me, but it’s a good different. I would have never done this or seen this in my addiction and it allows me to change how I see the world and other people. Sometimes we miss the beautiful things around us.”

Together We Can gives endless thanks to the BC Fire Fighters Burn Fund for providing these men in recovery not only a ticket, but an experience and an opportunity to change perspectives. This was an amazing time for everyone involved, and we look forward to much more of this in the future!


Recovery New Year’s Eve Party Tickets


Being in recovery doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and ring in the New Year in style.

Join hundreds of your friends in the recovery community  on New Years Eve and help us purchase 25 tickets for the NA Recovery New Years Eve Party happening on December 31st at 9pm. Tickets are $25.00 each.

Together We Can Society has pledged to purchase all other tickets needed for clients currently in First Stage Treatment after the first 25 have been donated by our Alumni, Staff, and Supporters.  Please help make this New Year Celebration a memorable and unique experience for these men in early recovery.

Donations can be made at the front desk during business hours.  Please bring your cash or cheque and have a receipt made out to you by Wendy or Andrea in our office.  Charitable tax receipts can be issued for anything $25.00 or more upon request.

TOGETHER WE CAN SOCIETY (TWC) founded in 1993, has emerged as one of British Columbia’s leading residential addiction recovery programs for men challenged by substance misuse.

Located in Vancouver, participants live as part of a supportive residential community where they participate in group therapy and an integrated rehabilitation program. Our goal is to help participants discover new mental, emotional and spiritual beliefs which are the foundation for

TWC Music Therapy: Good Vibrations

Together We Can Vancouver’s Music Therapy Program strikes a chord with our clients and helps them to deal with issues such as addiction, anxiety and depression.  Our Music Therapy program is offered on most Sunday afternoons from 2 to 4.  No appointment necessary, just drop in!  Please see our Music Therapy program page at for more information.

Please contact to verify upcoming program dates especially during holiday periods.

Upcoming Seasonal Schedule:

December 14, 2014 (tomorrow!)
December 28, 2014
January 4, 2015

There will be no session on December 21, 2014.

TWC’s Recovery Newsletter – December Edition


Our Latest Newsletter is now available!  We’ve gone to a larger 4-page format thanks to all the great feedback and suggestions.  Read up on the TWC Community including stories on Recovery, our Alumni meetings, and how TWC gives back to the Recovery Community as a whole. This edition features a unique opinion piece on the foundations of recovery by Jarrod W. and how perspective is essential to application of the tools we learn by simply staying clean.

TWC Alumni Take 1 year sobriety cakes!

Our Congratulations go out to our Alumni on their milestones in recovery!

TWC Alumni Sheldon F. is taking
1 year today, December 11, 2014.

TWC Alumni Sean B. is taking
1 year on Saturday, December 13, 2014

One year in sobriety is an important event and is just the beginning of a long and prosperous journey.  All alumni are welcome to  meet with each other every Tuesday at 6pm on the TWC Campus.

TWC Clothing Drive is Saving Lives


In partnership with the Diamond Family Foundation, Together We Can volunteers gave their time and best effort this past weekend to participate in a clothing drive for the future outreach center, The Living Room. The event was a great success!

The Diamond Family Foundation plays a large role in the Greater Vancouver Area partnering with organizations that held provide food, supplies, and care to the homeless, at-risk youth, and those with addiction issues. Rick Diamond of Diamond Delivery transportation company heads their philanthropic endeavors and partnered with Together We Can to initiate a simple hot-dog cart and “Diamond Dogs” in a long-term fundraising initiative.

The Living Room is a planned project under the Diamond Family Foundation to support at-risk youth in finding shelter, government care, medical care, and counselling in Surrey. Mental illness, poverty, and addiction can all be intertwined and it is the goal of this project to address all three at once in the City of Surrey which as the highest rate of homeless people and child poverty in the lower mainland. All proceeds from the clothing drive this past weekend supported this future project.

Food and beverages were available and although the weather argued with the event, the show did go on. TWC takes great pride and joy in working in partnership for a common goal such as the one this past weekend and our volunteers had an absolute blast! Thank you to those who took part and we look forward to our next sponsored drive!

Movember 2014 has finished!

Movember 2014 has officially come to an end! Thank you to everyone who helped to make this years fundraising efforts a monumental success. Together We Can’s Movember Team, along with our clients, family, staff, and community supporters are happy to have raised $405 towards generating awareness about men’s health.

In addition, our Movember Facebook Like Drive showed a great turnout with 91 new likes for the month of Movember. That means TWC will be contributing an additional $91 towards the Movember project. In total, that’s just shy of $500! We sincerely thank everyone who took part in making  this month a great success. We look forward to making next year’s Movember even better!