Adam’s Story: Getting Clean with The Salvation Army

by mariasilva
Categories: Uncategorized

    Adam Walker has lived a life of hardship, trauma, and addiction. His story is the type that doesn’t always have a happy ending. However, Adam was determined to be one of the lucky ones when he entered the doors of The Salvation Army’s Addiction and Residential Centre (ARC) and began his first step to healing.

    After a previous struggle with drugs that resulted in five years in prison for drug trafficking, Adam had been clean and sober for over a decade. However, he was thrown two curveballs in 2018 when his father passed away and his 13-year marriage ended in quick succession. These two traumatic events left Adam feeling angry and alone, which led to a relapse.

    “That was too much for me to handle,” Adam says about the loss of two significant people to him. “I’ve had a lot of traumas in my life.”

    Adam’s new life was an erratic one surrounded with people who would only take him further down a self-destructive path. He moved from Lloydminster to Edmonton to British Columbia within a few months. Unfortunately, each move introduced a new type of dysfunction.

    Eventually, Adam said enough is enough and made the life-changing decision to get clean again. He moved back to Edmonton and entered The Salvation Army’s ARC program.


    Turning his life around

    In June 2020, Adam arrived at The Salvation Army’s ARC, where he lived in transitional housing and participated in the Pathway of Hope program. When he arrived, he was 30 days clean and determined to turn his life around.

    “Our first conversation was inviting Adam to focus on his own needs and his own journey and his own story and his own recovery,” Chaplain John Luth explains.

    Chaplain John worked as a chaplain at ARC for six years. He met Adam when he first arrived at the facility and has since continued to support him through his recovery.

    “It’s the most beautiful thing ever to see someone’s life grow in a good way, and that we trust that God is all over that and really at work,” Chaplain John said.

    When Adam attended ARC, he participated in the Pathway to Hope program, which provides intensive case management to individuals and families who desire increased stability and hope. The program is no longer available, but the Transitional Housing programs at Grace Village and near the city’s center are gender non-specific and help residents like Adam plan and provide them with the necessary tools to achieve their goals.

    One of the tools that helped Adam succeed in his recovery is talking about his experiences. From his daily conversations with Chaplain John to a simple interaction with the staff at ARC, Adam was always willing to share his story. Today, he has support from his psychologist, friends, and roommates.

    “I knew having people to talk to would be a big thing,” Adam says. “There was a lot of people that I tried to help, and I still do that now.”

    Adam’s experience has made him more empathetic to people on the streets. He used to be the type to pass by anyone homeless, but now, he asks himself what led them to their current situation. He is connecting his experience at ARC to his everyday life.

    “If I’m out on the streets and I see someone [who is homeless], I’ll stop and talk to them,” he said.


    Life after ARC

    Adam is currently dealing with a lot of physical health issues. The years of drug abuse have caught up to him and have taken a toll on his body. He continues to deal with different prognoses and is learning how to live with them.

    “I still have a lot of work [to do], and I get that,” Adam said. “I can still call Chaplain John whenever I need and that’s a good thing for me.”

    Today, Adam is 48 months clean and lives on his own. He continues his efforts to repair the relationships his addiction broke and takes each day as it comes.

    “I think life will continue to open up for him in a good way,” Chaplain John said. “The more clean time he has, the more days he lives clean and sober, and the more he reaches out to people. I think things will continue to move in a good way for him.”

    Last year, Adam was invited to the grand opening of Grace Village to speak about his success story. The event included speakers from around the territory, and media outlets were eager to speak to Adam after hearing his story. His success is a testament to the work The Salvation Army provides to every man and woman who walks into our building.

    “For me, The Salvation Army saved my life, and I will do anything I can to help return that favour,” Adam said.