Bermuda’s Addiction and Life Skills Program Transforms Lives

Black male runs on track

Every participant at The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Addiction and Life Skills Program in Hamilton, Bermuda, has a story to share. The goal is that by the end of the program, clients continue to develop healthy lifestyles and responsible habits.

Participants remember when something clicked and felt it was time to seek assistance. They also recall specific moments during their stay that helped them realize they were capable and deserved to be on the path to recovery.

Their journeys serve as an inspiration for others looking to one day defeat the cycle of addiction.

Inspiring Recoveries

Growing up, Antoine Francis, 55, was a good student and an excellent athlete. In his late teens, he was introduced to marijuana and later moved on to harder drugs. For many years, he described himself as a functioning addict. At the time, he worked as a nurse at a mental health clinic.

After his grandmother passed away, he fell into a deep depression that pulled him further into addiction.

“Things started to take a turn for the worst. My heroin use started to become dependent instead of recreational,” Antoine said.

Not long after, he became homeless, living out of a Jeep and at a local park. After some time, he decided to get clean and, while in detox, he was referred to Harbour Light, where he has been living for almost a year. He also takes part in the addiction and life skills program to stay sober.

“I struggle with sobriety outside of the walls of recovery. So I’m also learning some relapse prevention tools,” Antoine shared. “Harbour Light is like a family unit. It’s not like the staff and residents are divided, everybody is kind of on the same page, even when we aren’t on the same page. Just like a family.”

“Harbour Light is like a family unit.”

Since joining the program, Antoine believes he has strengthened his spirituality, improved his self-confidence, and even started to love himself again. Antoine, who once described himself as someone who “didn’t like people”, now feels confident enough to speak during Sunday service.

Fred Parsons, 65, spent many years experiencing homelessness and struggling with addiction. He describes his time on the streets as deteriorating. As Fred aged, he became tired of his lifestyle and sought help from The Salvation Army.

“If it wasn’t for Harbour Light, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” Fred said.

For the past 14 months at Harbour Light, Fred has achieved so much thanks to the addiction and life skills program. Fred got clean and sober, learned how to set daily routines, and even improved his reading skills. Due to his tenure, fellow residents love coming to him for advice. He graciously helps them in whichever way he can.

“If it wasn’t for Harbour Light, I probably wouldn’t be here today.”

As Fred prepares to leave Harbour Light, he feels ready to take on the world.

“My life has turned around tremendously. I’m on feeling good and I’m feeling confident that what I learned at Harbour Light is going to keep me safe when I leave.”

Recovery Relay

To commemorate National Recovery Month, the addiction and life skills program held its annual Recovery Relay.

Both Antoine and Fred were happy to participate to bring awareness of the positives of rehabilitation. The passing of the baton among Harbour Light residents symbolized that they were not alone in their recovery.

By Juan Romero