Dean’s journey from addiction to aftercare

From left to right, a woman and two men stand at the front of the chapel and the man in the centre receives a certificate of completion for The Salvation Army Anchorage Recovery Program.
by Maritime
Categories: 2018, Blog, Events, News Archive
In October 2017, Dean shared the story of his addiction and how he took the first steps to clean living. Today, we catch up him again as he transitions from the Anchorage program and continues his journey of recovery.

As a former participant in the Anchorage Recovery Program, Dean is starting his aftercare journey by reflecting on his needs and setting goals for his future.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to a normal life.”

After completing the six-month recovery program, Dean has taken great strides to prepare himself for a life of sobriety by electing to remain in Halifax where he will be close to supportive family, friends and staff at the Centre of Hope.

“I decided I could go home to the same environment, and the minute stress levels go up, there could be more triggers. Through talking with my counsellor Paul and with my brother, I decided that it’s probably better for me to stay in Halifax where I can to better prepare myself for going home.”

Dean hails from St. John’s, Newfoundland where he was immersed in the ongoing opioid crisis.

He says, “Going home, where St. John’s is deep in the opioid crisis, there is no long-term care, there’s very little offered besides your local support groups. Up here [in Halifax], there’s ten times more help. Up here through the Centre, they got the MOSH Clinic who can help you out or put you in touch with the North End Clinic.”

After completing the Anchorage program, Dean has since moved into an on-site apartment that assists in transitioning men from the shelter system into sustainable housing.  As part of his aftercare, Dean has been spending time volunteering at the Centre of Hope.

Addictions Counsellor, Leslie Kennedy says, “Dean volunteers in the food room, kitchen, and has been acting as peer support for newcomers to the Anchorage program. It’s helpful for the men to see someone who has completed the program and seeing what aftercare in progress can really look like. “

Dean says, “Volunteering is my way of giving back to this floor for what they’ve done.  I got a big heart-might as well use it for good reasons. Volunteering is my way of saying thank you and continuing with my aftercare with the people on this floor.”

While in the six-month program, Dean would make a habit of inviting newcomers for a coffee or showing them around the local area to make them feel welcome and give them a sense of familiarity with their new surroundings.

“I know what it’s like to come to a strange city and not know where anything is. If I can help point you in the right direction where something is, I will. The big joke here is that you guys can’t get rid of me now! The knowledge I got, the life experiences I got, and the fact that I want to help people–I thought about it in March of last year that I wanted to give back in some way. So now I have the opportunity to learn from Paul and Leslie.”

The Anchorage Recovery Program has been an enlightening experience for Dean as he uncovers the roots of his additions and makes plans to move forward. As Dean’s aftercare journey continues he is able to offer advice to those who may be entering the program with hesitation or a bit of fear:

“In a program like this, you have the time to have the “big talk” that you need to have with yourself. I used to call it the ‘ah-ha’ moment. If you get that, the rest of your time here is going to be great.”

We wish Dean continued success on his journey!