Month: September 2016

CTV News – Fentanyl Overdoses – Front Line Workers


Phil Western, an addiction counsellor at Together We Can, shares his thoughts with CTV News on the causes surrounding the fentanyl crisis in British Columbia, and some possible solutions.

fentanylposterWestern claims the dramatic rise in fentanyl use and subsequent overdoses is most likely a “matter of economics”. The use of fentanyl in street level drugs provides bigger profits and lines the pockets of drug dealers and drug suppliers. The ingredients needed to make the fentanyl can be too easily accessed and can be developed in a lab; unlike the straight heroin that it is often replacing.

In terms of solution to this crisis, Phil feels that the current Safe Injection Site in Downtown Vancouver; Insite, cannot handle the demand created by the large numbers of intravenous drug users that need this life saving service – putting their lives at risk on a daily basis. Western feels that addiction is still being seen mostly as a moral or criminal issue, rather than a community health issue. Changing the public perception and encouraging our elected officials to increase funding, would go along way to immediately save lives.

Regarding naloxone, the drug that is administered to treat drug overdoses, Western explains that its availability is limited, and that the right people don’t have enough access to it. “We need more overdose kits”, he explains. 

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Click on Image to WATCH Video Interview

As a front line worker, Phil Western is saddened and surprised at the amount of drug addicted individuals in our province knowingly or unknowingly using fentanyl. He feels that the term “crisis” is completely justified. 

Watch CTV Interview Here

Athletes In Recovery – The Nathan MacMaster Story


I never thought I would be an alcoholic and a drug addict. I grew up in a loving & caring home. I excelled in school. Like most young Canadian kids, I had aspirations of being an NHL hockey player. I had everything a young kid with his whole life ahead of him could ever imagine. But for some obscure reason, I never felt whole. I felt like I never fit in, I felt alone and different. I behaved certain ways to try and fill this void but nothing would suffice.

nathan-macmasterAt 14 years old I had my first drink, and all of a sudden I was whole. I was confident, people enjoyed being around me. I had arrived. At 16 years old my abilities in hockey presented me with the opportunity to play in the Western Hockey League. I packed my bags and moved provinces to pursue my dream of playing professional hockey. Being away from the comfort of your home at 16 was intimidating. I went from having my parents supervising me, telling me to go to bed, to do my homework, to having no parental supervision. On the exterior, things looked promising. However, I was beginning to die inside. I was a daily drinker by 17 years old and beginning to experiment with drugs.

Over the next four years, there were numerous off ice issues which lead to many attempts from coaches and management to help straighten me out. This resulted in three trades in four years. That dream of playing professional hockey had completely faded. I attended one year of university playing hockey in the CIS on a scholarship, but due to my addiction, I failed out. That young kid, who was one of 22 players in western Canada to represent Team Pacific, who won drama awards in school, was completely gone.

My younger brother, who once idolized me, was absolutely terrified of his older brother. After retiring from hockey, my life lacked structure. My alcoholism and drug addiction set off a spree of constant trips to detox’s and treatment centres. My family and friends didn’t want anything to do with me. After a run in with the law, I lay in a detox, and figured I should give treatment one last shot. I called Together We Can, told them my story, and they believed they could help me.

I will be forever grateful for Together We Can. Before entering the first stage, residential treatment program here I was in the grips of a progressive, chronic relapsing, disease known as addiction. TWC not only armed with me the facts of addiction, but provided a safe, comfortable place to learn how to live sober. The program here allowed me to establish solid connections in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, the community, as well as other men who are in recovery.

I grew up a high profile athlete, in addiction I lost touch with sports and recreation. Together We Can has numerous recreational programs, including my personal favorite; ice hockey, to allow people to begin living a healthy lifestyle again. After 90 days here, for the first time in a long time, I look forward to tomorrow and what the future has to offer. 

  • Nathan MacMaster, TWC Alumni and Volunteer

Men’s Trauma Centre Welcomes Olympian


Men’s Trauma Centre: Moving Forward

Dr. Gabor Mate
Dr. Gabor Mate

The link between trauma and addiction is a very real and well documented phenomenon. Dr. Gabor Mate, addiction specialist, has worked extensively with abused addicts on Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside. He cites childhood trauma as one of the determining factors in the likelihood a person will become addicted to substances later in life.

We as a society are becoming increasingly more aware of how addiction originates and manifests itself. Treatment methodology is becoming more effective at treating the root causes of an individual’s addictive disorder. It is truly a shame that many men who have been terrorized and victimized in their early years now suffer in silence – using substances to numb their pain.

The Men’s Trauma Centre is a non-profit society based in Victoria, B.C. Canada. This wonderful institution exists to provide treatment and support services to males survivors of physical, emotional or sexual trauma as well as support for our clients’ significant others. Aside from the invaluable services provided at the Men’s Trauma Centre, staff also actively assist and educate other agencies on how to best treat clients suffering with issues resulting from trauma.

We at TWC would like to thank all of the wonderful individuals providing constant support to clients at the Men’s Trauma Centre – your dedication and passion is truly remarkable!

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TWC Vancouver Island Client Coordinator Trevor Franklin pictured here on the left with guest speaker Adam Kreek, Canadian Olympic Rower at the Centre’s latest AGM.

Men’s Trauma Centre Website

Dr. Gabor Mate Website Link

Together We Can Treatment Centre Website

The Men’s Trauma Centre is a registered non-profit society under the Society Act of BC and a registered Canadian Charity # 87557 9302 RR0001


 

 

BLAST RADIUS – News & Events


September 9th, 2016

fentanylposterPreventable Deaths: Inside B.C.’s Fentanyl Crisis

CBC Investigates presents “Preventable Deaths: Inside B.C.’s Fentanyl Crisis.” Tune in to this special multi-platform series on CBC Radio’s The Early Edition, CBC Vancouver News, or follow the series online at cbc.ca/bc.

First Episode – Saturday, September 10: Broken Rehab Promise – In the context of public health crisis, did B.C. blow its chance to prevent an estimated 800 overdose deaths this year in B.C. alone, where deaths are up 73% over last year?
Episodes starting Sept 10th – Sept 17th on CBC

Together We Can – Staff Spotlights

staff_courtney1Courtney Nichols
Art Therapist, Registered Clinical Counsellor

Courtney Nichols obtained a Master’s degree in Art Therapy in 2003 and is a Registered Clinical Counsellor in B.C. She is also Certified Cognitive Behavioural Therapist for anxiety disorders with additional specialty training and experience working in the areas of depression, PTSD, OCD & psychosis.

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louiegrant_200x250Louis Grant
Indigenous Certified Addictions Specialist

Staff member Louis Grant is a highly experienced and certified addictions counsellor at Together We Can who has worked in the addiction recovery field for over 13 years. He is registered with the FNWACCB and has acquired an ICAS III – SAAT III designation as a Level Three Indigenous Certified Addictions Specialist. Louis employs a variety of traditional approaches to healing, and uses the principles and concepts embedded in Aboriginal spirituality for use in his daily therapeutic treatments and counselling sessions.

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RIDE – BWSS & Beauty Night Society Fundraiser

RTR Poster webIn support of BWSS Battered Women’s Support Services & Beauty Night Society, Together We Can organized a RIDE preceding The Recovery Day Street Festival on September 10th at 6th and 6th in New Westminster. A great day of fellowship, food and unity! All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Beauty Night Society and Battered Women’s Support Services.

Learn more about Battered Women’s Support Services  and the Beauty Night Society

We hope to see you at Together We Can on September 10th in support of this great cause!

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The Alliance Program

TWC Staff Dr. Courtney Nichols - Registered Clinical Counsellor Don Presland - Addictions Counsellor
TWC Staff
Dr. Courtney Nichols – Registered Clinical Counsellor
Don Presland – Addictions Counsellor

The Alliance Program encompasses  a broad range of recovery principles and philosophies garnered from SMART recovery, NA, AA, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and REBT (rational emotive behavioural therapy).

Led by professionals with experience in the addictions field, clients also participate in additional programs including Reiki healing sessions, Yoga with an emphasis on breathing and relaxation, guided meditations and video presentations. Alliance strives to promote unity and create lasting, meaningful relationships between clients.

Counsellors at the Alliance Program ensure that a safe atmosphere, based on acceptance and inclusiveness, is maintained at all times. Clients are encouraged to express their feelings openly and honestly during daily process groups and one-on-one counselling sessions.

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Untoxicated 2016

13901430_10153540282300876_37960183953065483_nA Vancouver Pride Society Partnered event, featured International Drag Star Courtney Act and Guest DJ Karsten Sollars. Other performers at the event included Morgan McMichaels, Jaylene Tyme, Iona Whip, Scizzor Fairy and many more.

Events such as Untoxicated promote unity and fellowship on a deep, meaningful level and harnesses the inviting atmosphere we strive to create here at Together We Can.

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PTSD Awareness – Stanley Park Tire Flip

ptsd1Together We Can – Addiction Recovery & Education Society is very proud of TWC Alumni and former BC first responder Terrance Joseph Kosikar for his commitment to raising awareness for those who suffer with PTSD and addictions.

Terrance set out to bring the tragic results of untreated PTSD by flipping a 400 pound tractor tire several kilometres around Stanley Park while shackled in over 50 pounds of solid steel chain on two different occasions.

Terrance and everyone involved hope to honour the memory of Nodar Kumaritashvilli and the over 100 Canadian First Responders who have passed away due to suicide over the last two years.

READ MORE


SLAM Recovery Slo-Pitch Tournament

p1030670One behalf of everyone here at Together We Can – Addiction Recovery & Education Society we want to thank all those who volunteered, played, supported and helped organize this amazing weekend of Sport and Fellowship. With over 20 teams, 6 fields and 4 divisions of players, needless to say it was action packed!

Geoff ‘HoneyBoy’ Wilson played a mean broke blues guitar and sang with an emotive soul driven voice. Before Honeyboy and his band hit the stage, the crowd enjoyed the musical talents of Scizzor Fairy, Lance Larose and Gord Reimer.

READ MORE


Recovery Day 2016 – Rally Against Addiction! 

Recovery Day BC webThe TWC family was very excited to be a part of the 2016 Recovery Day Festival in New Westminster, BC. Public celebrations like these go very far to bridge the gap so families can begin to both learn about addiction and celebrate sobriety. 

Recovery day first began in September of 2012 in the cities of Victoria and Vancouver. Greg Williams, a passionate filmmaker, caught the attention of Lorinda Strang and Annie McCullough of the Orchard Recovery society with his pitch on the fundraising website “Kickstart”. Greg’s goal was to help educate people on the emerging “Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement” comprised of men and women living successful and happy lives in recovery. His film, “Faces and Voices of Recovery” created the catalyst for a movement which has swept across the country, evolving into a celebration allowing individuals to speak their truth and spread messages of hope on a grand scale.

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Pride Parade 2016 – Equality In Recovery

pride1The 38th Annual Pride Parade took place on July 31st and TWC’s beach fantasy float was a definite crowd-pleaser! Volunteers, alumni, clients, family members and staff joined together to decorate, dance and join in to the festivities.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was present at the event and even stopped by to shake hands with TWC pride goers before the float departed.

This was a special day for TWC since it was our first ever year entering a float into Vancouver’s legendary annual pride weekend. DJ Stamina undoubtedly followed through with his promise to keep onlookers and participants jumping at with high-octane beats that literally shook the float.

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Recent Sobriety Milestones

birthdaysMick Dosanjh – Addictions Counsellor at TWC – August 5th, 2016 – 10 Years Sober

Daniel M – August 5th, 2016 – Funding Coordinator at TWC – 1 Year Sober

Don Presland – September 6th, 2016 – TWC Alliance Program Coordinator – 1 Year Sober – Cake at The VRC on Saturday, September 10th at 7:30

Rodrigo Rementeria  – August 7th, 2016 – House Manager at TWC Alliance Program – 1 Year Sober

Johnny Ruth – Support Worker at TWC – 19 Years Sober – August 20th, 2016

Dan Bernard – Counsellor – 8 Years Sober – September 6, 2016

Jess Charbonneau – Alumni – 1 Year Sober – August 9th, 2016

Mike Knutson – August 17th, 2016 – Alumni – 1 Year Sober

Frank K – September 6, 2016 – Alumni – Alumni – 6 Years Sober

Jeremy F – September 12, 2016 – Alumni – 1 Year Sober

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THE ORIGINALS SHOW – NOW AT THE ALANO CLUB!

twc-the-originals-sept-ns-alanoTWC – THE ORIGINALS is expanding!!! We will still be at The VRC once a month, but we are adding both the Vancouver Alano Club, and North Shore Alano Club to our venue roster. We’re looking forward to one of our favourite events!

Please join us for an evening of live performances, celebrating the arts in recovery! 9:00pm Friday Sept 16th at the The North Shore Alano Club. 176 East 2nd St, N.Vancouver

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TWC’s Alliance Program


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TWC Staff Dr. Courtney Nichols - Registered Clinical Counsellor Don Presland - Addictions Counsellor
TWC Staff
Dr. Courtney Nichols – Registered Clinical Counsellor
Don Presland – Addictions Counsellor

The Alliance Program at Together We Can offers a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQ individuals seeking a reprieve from addiction. Counsellors at the Alliance Program actively seek to destroy the barriers of shame, hostility and discrimination that plague gay men entering recovery.

Clients experiencing fear around acceptance and honest expression are immediately embraced by peers who have successfully overcome the same obstacles themselves. This unity and peer-support, centred around love and compassion, is what truly makes Alliance the amazing Program that it is today.

Group topics, discussions and counselling sessions at Alliance are tailored to the specific and complex issues that LGBTQ individuals experience. With a loving and nurturing approach, counsellors help clients explore the following topics: trauma, sex, discrimination, self-esteem, acceptance, negative core-beliefs and forgiveness. Practical, solution-based feedback and insight helps clients to empower themselves with knowledge and self-awareness. Programming at Alliance also encompasses a broad range of recovery principles and philosophies garnered from SMART recovery, NA, AA, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and REBT (rational emotive behavioural therapy).

Led by professionals with experience in the addictions field, clients also participate in additional programs including Reiki healing sessions, Yoga with an emphasis on breathing and relaxation, guided meditations and video presentations. Alliance strives to promote unity and create lasting, meaningful relationships between clients. Counsellors at the Alliance Program ensure that a safe atmosphere, based on acceptance and inclusiveness, is maintained at all times. Clients are encouraged to express their feelings openly and honestly during daily process groups and one-on-one counselling sessions.

Any given night of the week, alumni stop by to help newcomers with step work or just lend an ear and listen. Men who successfully complete the Alliance Program are invited on weekly hikes, trips to the movies and other activities that promote fun in recovery. In 2016, the Alliance Program made TWC’s beach fantasy themed float come to life at the Vancouver Pride Parade. Clients were also invited onstage to sing and dance at the Untoxicated event, an inclusive sober party which took place after Pride 2016.

Newcomers entering the Alliance Program are greeted by helpful, proactive and welcoming individuals who aim to pass on knowledge uncovered through deep forms of self-discovery. Investing in the well-being of others through sponsorship and camaraderie fosters the quality sobriety we strive to produce through our Programs at Together We Can. The true spirit of Alliance reverberates when a client is immediately welcomed and accepted as he walks through the door to begin a new life among brothers in recovery.

LEARN MORE about the TWC Alliance Program

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SLAM Recovery Slo-Pitch Tournament


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p1030670One behalf of everyone here at Together We Can – Addiction Recovery & Education Society we want to thank all those who volunteered, played, supported and helped organize this amazing weekend of Sport and Fellowship. With over 20 teams, 6 fields and 4 divisions of players, needless to say it was action packed!

Geoff ‘HoneyBoy’ Wilson played a mean broke blues guitar and sang with an emotive soul driven voice. Backed by the tight rhythm section of Michael Graham (Bass) and “Steady” Steve (Drums), this trio puts the capital B & R back into Blues & Rock. Before Honeyboy and his band hit the stage, the crowd enjoyed the musical talents of Scizzor Fairy, Lance Larose and Gord Reimer.

All of the entertainers provided excellent tunes while everyone enjoyed a wonderful rib dinner after a long day of ball in the sun. We hope that any newcomers who were present were able to see the true spirit of recovery in the smiling faces, hugs and laughter throughout the weekend.

A very special thanks to the crew from Revolution Recovery for all of their hard work in making sure this event went off without a hitch. Next year will be bigger and better…if that is even possible.

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the-slam

Together We Can Gets Untoxicated


13901430_10153540282300876_37960183953065483_nUntoxicated 2016, a Vancouver Pride Society Partnered event, featured International Drag Star Courtney Act and Guest DJ Karsten Sollars. Other performers at the event included Morgan McMichaels, Jaylene Tyme, Iona Whip, Scizzor Fairy and many more.

TWC clients were present at the event and were even invited onstage to participate in a short performance. That fact that a venue was created for people in recovery to enjoy the pride festivities in a safe, substance free environment is an enormous success for the recovery community.

Events such as Untoxicated promote unity and fellowship on a deep, meaningful level and harnesses the inviting atmosphere we strive to create here at Together We Can.

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RIDE – Supporting BWSS & Beauty Night Society


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In support of BWSS Battered Women’s Support ServicesBeauty Night Society, Together We Can organized a RIDE preceding The Recovery Day Street Festival on September 10th at 6th and 6th in New Westminster. A great day of fellowship, food and unity! All proceeds from this event will be donated to the Beauty Night Society and Battered Women’s Support Services.

Battered Women’s Support Servicesbeauty-nnight-3 have been helping girls and women in distress find peace and stability for over 35 years. The wonderful people at BWSS provide a safe and supportive forum for women to heal and remove themselves from violent situations. Over the past year, over 13,000 women have benefited from the services provided by BWSS. With a progressive social agenda in mind, BWSS strives to liberate women and girls who have fallen victim to neglect and abuse.

The Beauty Night Society is a registered Canadian charity that helps women realize their beauty, strength and grace through a variety of programs and services. Women and youth living in poverty are offered programs on wellness, life skills and makeovers as they build self-worth and renewed perspectives. The Beauty Night Society serves 300 less-fortunate women and youth each week and in their 15 years of existence have completed over 55,000 life-makeovers.

We hope to see you at Together We Can on September 10th in support of this great cause!

LEARN MORE ABOUT – RIDE

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RAISE – PTSD Awareness


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ptsd1On behalf of everyone here at TWC, we want to thank you for your support of PTSD Awareness and Bill M203. Our first responders need this cause to be front and center in order for changes to happen.

Together We Can – Addiction Recovery & Education Society is very proud of TWC Alumni and former BC first responder Terrance Joseph Kosikar for his commitment to raising awareness for those who suffer with PTSD and addictions.

Terrance set out to create awareness around the tragic results of untreated PTSD by flipping a 400 pound tractor tire several kilometres around Stanley Park while shackled in over 50 pounds of solid steel chain on two different occasions. Terrance and everyone involved hope to honour the memory of Nodar Kumaritashvilli and the over 100 Canadian First Responders who have passed away due to suicide over the last two years.

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is still an issue that is constantly being swept under the proverbial rug due to ignorance and lack of understanding. Many first responders are under the impression that they should silently suffer, sometimes for years and decades, with the brutal and horrific symptoms they experience.

SIGN ONLINE PETITION HERE – BILL M203

Together We Can offers state of the art PTSD therapies for our clients, many of which are military veterans and first responders such as Terrance. When coupled with substance abuse issues, PTSD can cause a complex array of complications for those seeking relief from the emotional and spiritual bankruptcy. It is truly heart-warming and inspirational to witness PTSD survivors such as Terrance spreading awareness around PTSD and motivating people to become informed. People who witness traumatic events on a regular basis are exposed to terrifying experiences.

The old school mentality of “pulling your socks up and brushing off” the memories and feelings created from these situations is outdated, to say the least. All of those who joined us on Saturday, August 20th to witness Terrance’s passion and fortitude were left feeling inspired and more educated on the devastating effects of PTSD. Let’s help those suffering with PTSD, addiction and mental illness find the help they need!

STAY UP-TO-DATE with the status of BILL M203 

Recovery Day – Rally Against Addiction


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The TWC family was very excited to be a part of the 2016 Recovery Day Festival in New Westminster, BC. What an amazing day in recovery!!! A huge thank you goes out to all the event organizers and volunteers.

Public celebrations like these go very far to bridge the healing gap, so families can begin to both learn more about addiction, and celebrate sobriety.


STACY WILSON – Executive Director, Together We Can

Recovery Day BC webRecovery day first began in September of 2012 in the cities of Victoria and Vancouver. Greg Williams, a passionate filmmaker, caught the attention of Lorinda Strang and Annie McCullough of the Orchard Recovery society with his pitch on the fundraising website “Kickstart”. Greg’s goal was to help educate people on the emerging “Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement” comprised of men and women living successful and happy lives in recovery. His film, “Faces and Voices of Recovery” created the catalyst for a movement which has swept across the country, evolving into a celebration allowing individuals to speak their truth and spread messages of hope on a grand scale.

Since it’s commencement, Recovery Day has steadily blossomed into a nation-wide event of massive proportions. People across the country will be rallying together to broadcast solutions for those suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. Social stigma around mental illness and addiction, bred from ignorance and lack of education, still prevails in our society even as we venture forward into new realms of neuroscience and insight.

Bif Naked, who has had personal struggles with drugs and alcohol, will be the headline performer at this year’s event. Other attractions include street vendors, local musical talents, a TEDtalks style Wellness Centre, a kid’s zone and much more.

People from all walks of life will be present including politicians, entertainment personalities, and athletes to share in the common theme of unity and compassion. Last year, over 30 cities across Canada participated with the primary purpose of informing those suffering with addictions of a better way of life.

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