Tim (whose real name has been withheld at his request) has been clean and sober for just more than one year.
“I managed to get a good grip on sobriety and keep it and a big part of that is thanks to Second Chance,” he said.
Tim did the 28-day Supportive Recovery program at the Second Chance Recovery House for men in Campbell River. Before that, he spent many years of his life controlled by his addiction to alcohol.
He would often wake up having slept outdoors the night before and he had no money and no food.
“It was too much work to keep going on like that day after day,” he said.
“I was hungry, I lost so much weight, as much as possible without being dead, the next step was death.”
In fact, when he finally made it to the hospital for help, the doctor told his family to make funeral arrangements for him.
But Tim pulled through and attended a detox program in another Island community.
When it came time to look at options for longer term treatment, he wanted a smaller program.
Campbell River’s Second Chance Recovery House fit the criteria as there are only 10 beds – four for Crisis Stabilization and six for Supportive Recovery.
“I didn’t want to be in with 60 people and I wanted accountability,” he said.
“This place was perfect for me. The feel of the place was great; there was more one on one time with staff.”
Second Chance Executive Director Tessera Brooks said many of the clients often comment on how surprised they are to find such a home-like environment when they come to the facility.
Like many families, the residents at Second Chance have daily chores to complete, including washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors. One client will help a staff member with the weekly grocery shopping.
“It’s all part of the recovery process, to help them develop life skills,” said Brooks.
The men also attend twice daily support groups Monday to Friday and one group Saturday morning.
This is in addition to the five out of house AA or NA meetings they are required to attend each week.
During the groups the men will learn about the 12-step recovery process, boundaries, co-dependency, communication skills, mindfulness, self-esteem, different kinds of relapse triggers, and anger management while identifying trauma and behaviours that led to their addictions.
The clients also complete an after care plan so they will know where they are going to live, who their sponsor is and what AA or NA meetings they will regularly attend.
It also includes appointments with other components of their support network, including Mental Health and Addictions Services, Psychiatrists, Doctors, therapists and Diabetes or Liver Clinics.
The men also include a back to work/school plan, budgets and family visitations/therapy sessions.
As part of his after care plan, Second Chance staff helped Tim find transitional housing through the Salvation Army.
He has also been seeing a counsellor regularly at Mental Health and Addictions Services and attends AA meetings.
“I’m very grateful to have been at Second Chance, the staff was great,” he said. “I didn’t keep track of time at all, I was saddened when my time was up.”
But like all past clients, Tim is still able to attend the support groups or just drop in for a visit with staff.
Brooks noted that in the past year Second Chance had 287 contacts with past clients who attended the daily support groups and 410 contacts with past clients who visited or phoned Second Chance.
Tim said having the structure and stability of being able to come back for the regularly scheduled groups is a large part of his maintained sobriety.
“His presence is also important to the newer clients,” said Brooks.
“They get to see that success is possible. And now that Tim has a foundation in recovery, he can explore educational goals and work options.”
Tim does in fact work part time and he now has his own apartment.
And he has reconnected with family members who he was estranged from because of his drinking.
“Now it’s great, we have a really good relationship,” he said. “My head is out of the clouds and I can see options for the future.”
If you or a loved one needs help with addictions and would like to be referred to Second Chance, you can contact the Crisis Nurses at the Campbell River Hospital at 250-850-2647 (for detox) or Mental Health and Addictions at 250-850-2620 (for 28 or 45-day supportive recovery).
If you would like to help Second Chance, cash donations are welcome or they are currently in need of new or gently used single bed comforters and winter coats.
With the holidays approaching, they will need gifts for the men who will spend Christmas there. Suggested gift ideas include new hoodies, t-shirts, scarves, gloves, toques, sweat pants, slippers, daytimers or calendars, baseball hats and wallets.
Ideas for stocking stuffers include razors, socks, Tim Horton’s gift cards, underwear, chocolates, candy, gum, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, nail clippers, hair brushes and unscented (no Irish Spring or Axe) shaving cream/deodorant/shampoo/soap/body wash.
Donations can be dropped off at Second Chance at 647 Birch Street or call 250-830-1103 to arrange for pick up.