Finding A New Life in Recovery – Success Stories
Together We Can (TWC) is committed to supporting men who seek recovery from substance use disorders.
Support of our men does not end at treatment graduation, but is sustained as men ease into independent living. We believe that our highly effective wrap around approach to care is best to meet the needs of our residents, and is the heart of our mission. This aligns with the goal of the Ministry of Social Development which aims to supporting its clients to self reliance.
TWC’s client care coordinator, Vince Pirozzi embodies our care model as someone that was on Ministry of Social Development assistance, but through following our care continuum has been able to regain independence and self reliance. A contributor to our community.
Prior to entering TWC in 2015, Vince was heavily addicted to crack cocaine and heroin which was amplified as he was using on top of being prescribed methadone. He was briefly employed in property management shortly after graduating high school. As Vince’s addiction progressed he lost this employment and became reliant on income assistance. For the next four years, Vince would not hold any further gainful employment as he became further entrenched in addiction and began to use criminal activity to sustain his habit. While Vince had family members who had their own addictions, others in his family withdrew their support. As a result, Vince was on the Downtown East Side and couch surfing in the final stage of his addiction.
Desperate for escape from his addiction, Vince reached out to a family friend who advised him to contact Together We Can. After reaching out, he was admitted to TWC primary treatment in two days time.
This was Vince’s first and only time at a substance use treatment centre. He remained in primary treatment for 90 days and during this time was able to make connections that provided him with inspiration that recovery was possible. His former addiction counsellors continue to be in his support circle.
During treatment, Vince was connected with the recovery community and learned the principles of mutual support which has been instrumental for his recovery. He recognized the importance of trusting the process and in following the direction that he was being taught.
There are two very important resources that Together We Can provides for men that are graduating primary treatment. The first is that clients are strongly encouraged to reside in one of TWC’s second stage homes and the second is that volunteer opportunities are provided to alumni. Both measures help support men in their after care. When Vince moved into second stage he started volunteering with TWC the day after graduating primary treatment. While volunteering, he was willing to perform any task that was asked him from facilitating intakes, washing dishes and doing general clean up around the centre. Within a couple months, he was offered the opportunity to work as a support worker during the evening and night shifts which he readily accepted. At the same time, Vince was offered the opportunity to manage one of the second stage residences.
Together We Can firmly believes in the human capital that those with lived experience with addiction possesses. When a volunteer has shown initiative and has expressed a desire to help others in recovery in a formal manner, then Together We Can will consider such a person for full employment. Because Vince performed exceptionally as a support worker and had an ambition to help those with addictions, he was offered a full time job. He initially worked as a residents’ support worker and later was promoted to manager. His desire is to become a group facilitator and to conduct one on one counselling sessions with clients.
To that end, Together We Can supported Vince in enrolling in an addiction counselling program at Vancouver Community College. When he graduates this June, he will be working in his desired role.
Because Vince has dedicated himself to his recovery and to attaining independence, there have been numerous additional benefits in his life. The first is that he has been able to repair the relationship with his family. They have been able to reconcile the past and become a stronger family. The second is that Vince has been able to successfully encourage many friends from his days of addiction to attend treatment and to attain the same gifts of sobriety as him. The third is that Vince was able to move out of TWC second stage housing and is now living independently and is financially self reliant. Vince has also been able to regain his licence and has regained his independence with the purchase of his own car. He continues to give back through extensive service work in Vancouver’s recovery community and being a supportive person for others that desire recovery from addiction. There is also times of quality leisure for Vince as he is involved with the recovery softball league.
Vince has become a true ambassador for TWC’s care model. It takes considerable stamina to lift oneself from the depth of addiction to being able to overcome one’s past and to flourish in recovery. However, Vince did not have to fight this battle alone, he knew that he could count on TWC’s support which has been unfaltering since the day Vince reached out for help. It has been mutually beneficial as TWC has gained a passionate dedicated employee with a strong desire to help men recover from addiction; Vince has been able to attain his goals through TWC’s support. It is one person at a time, to respond to the client’s needs that has enabled TWC to help thousands of men over the past 25 years. TWC takes pride in our men such as Vince who are able to share with others the same support that they had when they needed it the most.