Fresh air and fresh starts

Fresh air and fresh starts
by Maritime

On an unseasonably warm October day, five men and two program supervisors from The Salvation Army Anchorage Addictions Program arrived in Thorburn, Nova Scotia, to help close Scotian Glen Camp for the season. Upon arrival the group was met with clear skies, fresh ocean air, and vibrant autumn leaves. It was a perfect setting for the group to connect under the sun and focus on the next leg of their journey to recovery.

At the end of every camp season, the folks in the Anchorage program head to Scotian Glen to provide a little TLC to camp facilities and assist in closing the buildings for the winter. This year, signs and fences were in need of painting and some flooring needed to be replaced. Program supervisors Paul Surette and Leslie Kennedy worked alongside the men cutting and laying the flooring, painting, and helping with the cleanup.

Where mental health pays an enormous role in recovery, Paul says, “Coming to camp is an opportunity to get some fresh air-this is all part of the recovery. Everyone has good days and bad days. It’s days like this that help everyone to recharge.”

Originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Dean, as one would expect, is friendly and energetic. When a car accident caused nerve damage to his arm and back, he found himself in chronic pain and with a prescription to opioids. He became addicted and would soon find himself homeless until he entered the Wiseman Centre, St. John’s Salvation Army emergency shelter.

“I was connected to Anchorage through the Wiseman Centre. I’ve been given a lot of support since I got to this program. I know a lot of the officers and feel fortunate to have that support,” says Dean.

Since entering Anchorage, Dean is building his life back. His focus has turned from his addiction and is set on a forward trajectory that includes working through his addiction, finding work, and living well as he’s now gained weight.

Dean spent the morning painting the fence with a peer from the Anchorage program. Opportunities to spend time with friends in the group allow the men to connect without always focussing on the addiction or recovery.

When the fixes were complete, the group kicked back in front of the fire to reconnect with nature and reconnect with themselves. The Anchorage program is a six month in-house abstinence program that focuses on community reinforcement and accountability as the path to recovery from addiction. While directed programming uncovers the crux and triggers of the addiction, moments outside of the classroom walls can go great lengths in encouraging reflection and inward healing.

Thank you to our friends at Anchorage for your helping hands. We wish you well on your journey of recovery!