Month: November 2017

One Year’s Worth of Gratitude

I was frantic, terrified, beaten down, and scared for my life because I was homeless and desperate. Other than suicide or making my way to the recovery house I had been referred to, I had run out of options.

On November 26, 2016 I had no idea my life was about to change the way it did – After more than 20 years of drug and alcohol addiction I found myself standing alone in the parking lot of a Burger King in Surrey at night, cold and soaked to the bone with nowhere to go. I was frantic, terrified, beaten down, and scared for my life because I was homeless and desperate.

Other than suicide or making my way to the recovery house I had been referred to, I had run out of options. With the last bit of battery power on my phone I made a desperate plea for someone to please come get me and take me where I needed to go, and something in the universe stepped in and sent me an angel. A ride showed up and took me to the Alliance house at Together We Can, and from that day forward, nothing short of a miracle began to happen.

Through working the 12 steps, being of service, taking suggestions, surrendering my will, and admitting I could no longer manage my own life, I began to see that there was a new way to live waiting for me if I was willing to do the work. Surrounded by a house full of men fighting the same battle as I was, I began to heal my heart and my soul and find my voice and my spirit again.

I learned how to love again, I learned how to be selfless, I learned to trust others again, and I learned how to navigate loss, heartache and pain in a healthy way, rather than resorting to the ease and comfort of drugs and alcohol. By putting in the effort and care into myself and those around me in recovery, I stand here one year later with so much gratitude and hope in my heart that it feels like it may burst at times.

Today, I have a job that I love and makes a positive impact on the lives of those struggling with addiction, I have people in my life who tell me they love me and consider me family, I have self respect and dignity, but most of all I have a life that I can finally be proud of and call my own.

Had it not been for the Alliance program at the Together We Can – Addiction Recovery & Education Society, my sponsors, my new friends, and the recovery community I would not be here today, and from the bottom of my new heart I want to say thank you and tell each of you how grateful I am.

Recovery works. Recovery saves lives. Recovery is real.

By Jeromie W.

(Dedicated in memory to Don Presland and Tristan Kroeker)

Navigating Home – A Veteran’s Journey

Recovery Life News Posted: Nov 10th, 2017 4:11 PM PST

Winning The Battle Over Addiction and PTSD

With Remembrance Day coming over the weekend, it is important to recognize the service and sacrifices made by our military service members. Their commitment to protecting our nation’s freedoms and ideals can never be underestimated, nor forgotten.

Often the work that they do has them enduring traumatic situations or injuries that they end up bringing home with them from the battlefied. A true measure of our appreciation is how well we ensure that when they do return, they have the programs and services available to them for reintergrating into civilian life. Some of this trauma can be physical, while others can be not as visible. Both can have an equal affect on their lives.

Mental health issues including PTSD, and Addiction need to be part the focus of making sure our veteran’s heal. For men and women who have been trained to never be defeated, we need them to know that they do not have to deal with their mental health issues alone. We need to show them that we as a society understand, value, and support their recovery.

Together We Can has comprehensive Addiction Recovery Programs and supports for Veterans. In addition to our individually-tailored treatment plans, we have Certified Clinical Counsellors who focus on understanding and treating PTSD and addiction.

Working along side Veteran Affairs Canada, our continuum of care extends well beyond primary treatment. Our goal is to provide our Veterans with the life skills and tools for meaningful long-term sobriety. TWC also works with professional first responders who may struggle with addiction and other mental health issues.

Canadian Navy Veteran Mike Cain, and TWC Staff member Mike Cain, talks to Evolution 107.9FM Radio host Breton Scott about his battle with addiction, and his work with other veterans who struggle with addiction and PTSD. Mike recently celebrated 3 years of continuous sobriety.

As the Veteran Services Manager at Together We Can – Addiction Recovery & Education Centre, Mike supports veterans who are looking for a new life after free of addiction after their military service.

Michael Cain

Veteran Services Coordinator

Michael has been trained in naval communications and served for three and a half years in the Canadian Navy.

Mike coordinates and schedules client groups, counselling sessions and other activities at Together We Can. He communicates regularly with Veteran Affairs and offers his experience, strength and hope to servicemen dealing with substance abuse, PTSD, and other mental health issues.

Learn More About the TWC Veteran Services & Outreach Program

TWC ‘All My Relations’ at 2017 National Aboriginal Veterans Day

Recovery Life News Posted: Nov 10th, 2017 2:20 PM PST

Together We Can staff, volunteers, and residents from the Straight Path and Straight and Narrow houses of the TWC – All My Relations Treatment Program were in attendance Wednesday at the 2017 National Aboriginal Veterans Day ceremonies at Victory Square in Vancouver to mark contributions made to the Canadian military by Indigenous men and woman.

Starting with a peace pipe ceremony at Carnegie Hall in Vancouver's downtown east side, hundreds of participants then lead a procession down Hastings Street that ended at Victory Square where speeches were made and wreaths were laid down at the war memorial by First Nations elders and leaders, city officials, veterans, and the Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson.

The National Aboriginal Veterans Day is of significant importance not only to the clients of the All My Relations program, but to the wider Aboriginal community within Canada.

"TWC All My Relations is fully committed to supporting National Aboriginal Veterans Day," said Tyler Craig, Indigenous Cultural Coordinator for Together We Can. "The unique sacrifice of indigenous veterans has only been recently formally recognized in the public arena. An important part of our program is to educate our men on the complete history of indigenous people in Canada."

"With this understanding," continued Tyler Craig "our men understand how embracing culture, language and traditions is essential to recovery from substance abuse. We encourage TWC All My Relations men to learn how the giving of time and talents is rewarding when being of service to the community."

Speaking on the role that the TWC All My Relations program played at the National Aboriginal Veterans Day, Tyler Craig explained that "our men helped with carrying the procession flags, the wreaths and being part of the victory march to truly feel the impact of this event."

"Two indigenous clients of Together We Can are veterans of the armed forces," he continued" and were invited to be honoured for their sacrifice. Together We Can has developed specialized programming to assist veterans with their recovery from substance abuse. As an organization we are firmly committed to placing our full support in honouring the sacrifice of veterans."

Together We Can would like to thank all of our staff, clients, and volunteers for helping to make the 2017 National Aboriginal Veterans Day a huge and meaningful success.

Learn More about the TWC – All My Relations Treatment Program

All My Relations Facebook Page

TWC x BCHL Partnership – Nathan MacMaster Interview on 107.5 KissFM

Last week Together We Can was proud to be represented on KISS 1075's 'Junior A Puckcast with Graham Turnbull' by TWC Intake Services member Nathan MacMaster to discuss hockey, recovery, and our new partnership with the BCHL.

Nathan MacMaster was a Western Hockey League stand-out, and was one of the top ice-hockey players in Western Canada throughout his teenage years before his life was de-railed by addiction. Nathan is an alumni of Together We Can, and made a seamless transition from client to staff member within the organization just over a year ago.

In addition to his inspiring story of battling and overcoming addiction since the age of 14, Nathan was on the Junior A Puckcast to discuss the new partnership that was announced recently between Together We Can and the BCHL. 

This partnership is one of the first of its kind in the recovery community, and places Together We Can at the forefront of a brand new opportunity to not only support men within the BCHL struggling with addiction, but for the community built around the league as well.

“Together We Can Addiction Recovery and Education Centre is very excited to partner with the BCHL to help bring awareness and support to men and families who may struggle with addictions,” said TWC Communications Manager Christopher Steffler.

“While many athletes may experience addiction in their lives, we also know that sports play an important role in the healing process. Participation brings people together to work towards a common goal and encourages physical fitness, both of which are integral to leading a healthy lifestyle and building a life in sobriety.”

You can check out Nathan's interview by clicking HERE and skipping ahead to the 20:00 mark in the podcast.