About Us

The House

Fresh Start is a 50-bed residential alcohol and drug addiction treatment centre for men in Calgary, Alberta. We base our program on the 12 steps and the Family Systems Method. We provide a comfortable environment where men and their families can escape addiction, and learn to live rewarding and fulfilling lives in recovery.

Fresh Start has been helping people live in recovery since 1992. Today we operate in a purpose-built facility that is one of the largest residential treatment centres in Alberta. Opened in winter 2011/12, our home is the result of years of planning and experience. We feel it provides the ideal setting for men and their families to begin their new lives, free from addiction. It’s a big, vibrant, and welcoming place, designed to feel like a home—in fact, our residents and staff alike refer to it as “the House”.

The House features:

  • 26 residents’ rooms
  • Group and individual counseling rooms
  • Meditation rooms
  • Gymnasium
  • Dining hall
  • Kitchen run by Red Seal Chef
  • Weight room
  • Movie theatre
  • Proximity to major transit routes


The Disease Concept

The overwhelming majority of medical opinion and practice supports the definition of addiction as a disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percent of people over the age of 18 who are regular drinkers — defined by at least 12 drinks in the past 12 months — is 51.5 percent.

                ·         Percentage of Canadians who are high risk drinkers: 13.6%

                          Percentage of current Canadian drinkers (of all ages and drinking levels) report some form of harm in the past year due to alcohol intake:      To themselves: 20%   Harmed by some else’s drinking: 33%

Source: National survey of Canadians’ use of alcohol and other drugs: Prevalence of use and related harms (June, 2005). Available at: www.ccsa.ca

·         Percentage of hospitalizations directly attributable to substance abuse: 8% 

·         Percentage of days spent in hospital directly attributable to substance abuse: 10% 

Source: Single, E., Robson, L., Xiaodi, X., and Rehm, J. (1996) The costs of substance abuse in

Canada. Available at: www.ccsa.ca.

  ·         Annual productivity losses in Canada due to abuse of legal substances (including

tobacco): $11.8 billion or 1.7% of the gross national product (GNP), or $414 for

every man, woman and child

Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

(1999) Canadian Profile 1999. Available at: www.ccsa.ca.

Fresh Start treatment follows the disease concept: We see addiction as an illness that is progressive, and often fatal if untreated. The good news is that with treatment and a program of recovery, addicts can and do live healthy, happy and productive lives. Our goal is to send fathers back to their kids, sons back to their families, and to restore them back into community as productive and content men. With our intensive treatment program, and solid community support,  we see that this is reality.  We see the lives restored and the families who have been brought together through recovery.   



Our Program

We offer residential and out-patient treatment options, as well as our Fresh Start residents take part in an intensive recovery program that can last from 12 to 16 weeks. The program includes daily individual and group counseling, as well as recreational therapeutic activities. Our program is comprehensive and holistic: we aim to start the healing process physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Throughout our program we seek to foster respect, for self and others.We require all residents to attend 3 outside 12 Step meetings each week, and one in-house alumni meeting. This helps to develop a much-needed support system for after treatment is finished.

We feel that life in recovery is worth celebrating; those who successfully complete our program graduate at a special ceremony. Graduates can stay in the House for up to 18 months, as long as they are employed or enrolled in an education program, and continue to abstain from alcohol and drug use. For those who wish to stay longer with Fresh Start, our Stage Two and Stage Three Housing provides access to program support in a more independent setting.

We have adapted various models of Relapse Prevention Therapies to ensure that our program grants each addict their best opportunity for success. We employ an interdisciplinary approach to treating addictions with the core of our treatment program based on the 12 Step approach. In all of our work, we remain constant to our core values: equality, empathy, trust, accountability, support, change, respect and individuality. Staying true to these values has enabled us to provide successful treatment and housing since 1992.

For the family and friends whose lives have been affected by adiction we offer our Family Healing Program.

  • A secure and supervised program for family members and friends who have been affected by addiction.
  • An environment that encourages physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing and growth.
  • Education on the disease of addiction and its effects. 
  • Training in the solutions, coping skills, and problem solving that are necessary to deal with alcoholism and addiction.
  • Referral services and support based on individual needs and requirements.
  • Qualified and compassionate counselors for weekly groups and one-to-one sessions.