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The Good News


In the last couple of weeks, Fresh Start has been blessed with three really exciting pieces of news that we would like to share with you. 

 

1. Charity Intelligence Canada has recognized Fresh Start as being a Top 10 Impact Charity in Canada for the fourth year in a row based on the high Social Return on Investment (SROI) that Fresh Start delivers to community. Click here for full announcement. This kind recognition is based on performance that doesn’t happen in isolation. It is the work of an entire community coming together to be bigger than the sum of the parts. These parts include:

  • a core of caring volunteers including board members,
  • committed and engaged advocates who help spread the word,
  • thoughtful and dedicated donors who help keep the lights on, the staff fairly compensated and the doors open and
  • a passionate and compassionate staff who are committed to helping those who will work for their recovery to be able to change their life … one step at a time.

To all of you who share in this success, THANK YOU!

But that’s not all ….

2. One of Fresh Start’s long-time supporters – Supreme Men’s Wear Ltd. under the leadership of Darren Biedermann - has been named Outstanding Small Business Philanthropist.

 

3. Fresh Start has been selected to be one of five charities from across Canada to be part of the November 2018 National Advertising Challenge “NAC Cares” campaign. This “contest” invites the best advertising agencies in the country to create an outstanding advertising campaign for one or more of the five charities. If one of the Fresh Start campaigns is selected as a “top 3” in the Canadian judging, it will compete against other campaigns from all over the world at the Lion d'Or (Gold Lion) competition at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France in 2019.

If you know of an advertising agency that has “the chops”, please consider passing this along to them and invite them to create their best stuff for Fresh Start. Besides helping Fresh Start, they could profile their creative talents on the world stage.  

     

recovery, addiction, family healing, calgary treatment centre  
  

Food Truck on a Mission


We would like to introduce you to our addiction recovery themed food truck called Eleven-Eleven, serving up great food and most of all…. HOPE. We have been operating this new venture on the Calgary streets for just over a month. Our tag line is “Eat Good. Do Good” and that is exactly what our social enterprise food truck and soon to be café is doing. Serving up recovery themed food items such as “The Dr. Bob (bacon burger) and The Bill Wilson (cheeseburger)” named after the Alcoholics Anonymous’ founders.

 

When you eat here you are doing more than just purchasing a meal, you could be saving a life. The food truck is part of a social enterprise project under Fresh Start Recovery Centre's umbrella with all profits generated going back into helping more men and families get well from the disease of addiction. The Eleven-Eleven staff all identifies that they are in recovery from something…whether that is substance use disorder, co-dependency or process addictions etc.

 

We are living proof of recovery and inspiring a message of hope and wellness. This is our Do-Good part of our tag line…. a BIG part of this initiative is working on changing the conversation surrounding addiction recovery. Addiction impacts us all, so whether you are in recovery, know someone in recovery, know someone that needs recovery or are somewhere in between, there has never been a better time to bring this issue forward.

Recovery saves lives and impacts families for the better. When you eat with us, you can be confident that you will Eat Good and Do Good.

If you would like to visit us for a meal, check out the Calgary Street Food App or visit our Eleven-Eleven social media pages for details of where we will be parked. If you are interested in booking the truck for your event or your work Christmas social, visit www.eleven-eleven.ca for booking process or contact events@eleven-eleven.ca

recovery, addiction, family healing, calgary treatment centre  
  

First Father's Day


Tuesday, I became a dad. Yesterday was my one-year anniversary with my amazing and supportive wife. Today is my first Father's Day with our five-day old baby girl Zoey and on Tuesday we will be purchasing a condo in Hawaii (yes Hawaii) where we moved a few months ago. To say my life is a miracle is an understatement; and with the gift I have an opportunity to share it with others in hopes of helping, inspiring, or perhaps creating a little more ease in one’s life. If you are struggling - I get it. I did too. For most of my life. What I know is that you have to want this. With a true desire to change your life, a support system and a higher power - you can and will get better. I offer you how I worked the steps as you must do the work also to get better. Faith without works in dead.

I celebrated my five-year milestone this year and I know working the steps, REALLY working the steps is a game changer.

Step one, powerlessness and unmanageability; that was easy, and obvious if you’ve know any part of my story. Step two, came easily to me as well as I was raised to believe in God and had never really stopped believing, just fell out of practice. Step three, I began saying the third step prayer every day and praying for God to remove my obsession to use, and he did. Step four, my nemesis. I hated step four, and I still do. We bury all that pain for a reason, and the last thing I wanted to do least was dig it all up again, so I made every excuse I could. I thought, why do my step four if there’s nobody here to do my five with. Somebody suggested that I do my step five with the Chaplin, but then my excuse was that I wanted to do my step four the same way we did at Fresh Start, but I couldn’t remember exactly what the format was. So, I put it off again. So basically, I quit doing my steps altogether. But I did remain willing to change, and I did remain abstinent. The only reason I was granted parole was due to my release plan, which was to come to Fresh Start and seek treatment. I was in group my first day in the house, and before long step four came up. I gave it my all, I didn’t want to have to do it again, so I knew I had to get it right the first time. And I still hated it.

You know what, it was the step I got the biggest amount of relief from. When I did my step five I held poor sister Mary hostage for 3 ½ hours, I shared everything with her and with God, even some things I didn’t have the balls to write down. This is the most freeing feeling I’ve ever had. I felt elated. It just felt so good to let everything go. Afterwards we prayed, and she helped me identify my character defects. When I left, I went down to the river to pray and meditate, and a bird shit on me. It wasn’t just a little crap on my shoulder, it filtered down through the trees and sprayed me with a shower of shit. It was in my hair, on my face, my arms my chest, back and legs. I’m not sure what kind of bird it was but it must’ve been massive! Immediately I was furious, and I was about to scream but what came out was laughter. I was surprised by this and thought about it for a minute and was hit with an epiphany; throughout life I’m still going to get shit on, it’s my reaction that must change. I reviewed my step six list, and said my step seven prayer, which I still say every night to this day. For every step is a spiritual principle, and each one of these spiritual principles relates inversely to a character defect. That is to say, they cancel each other out. So, when we practice these principles and all our affairs, and help others, our defects are removed. We work on the outside, and God works on the inside. Step eight, I made a list of everyone I have harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. Not to say I was willing right away, but I became willing. Step nine, I’ve only made a few amends so far, but all of them have gone well, better than I expected. I made amends to my parent’s. I took them out for dinner, and afterwards I read them a list everything I had done to harm them throughout my addiction, and I apologized for all of it. By the end of it all they were crying, I was crying, but it was tears of joy and relief. Today I have a better relationship with my parents then I can ever remember having before. Even before I got into drugs. I realize they’re not going to be around forever, and I don’t take them for granted anymore. I can never make direct amends too all the people I sold meth to over the years. It’s just not practical, and it would put me in a dangerous position. So, I found a way to make indirect amends for these actions.

With the help of my sponsee, Chris, I started Calgary’s first Crystal Meth Anonymous group, with the hope of helping others recover from the addiction to crystal meth. The meeting has exploded! This was something that was long overdue in Calgary, and every time I see somebody there that I used to use with it warms my heart. Step 10, I’m really not looking forward to ever doing another step four again, so the way to avoid this is to stay vigilant with my step 10 by admitting my wrongs as soon as I realize I’ve made one, and therefore not getting any further resentments a chance to grow. Step 11, I’m not really one for meditation just prayer and quiet reflection, which might be the same thing, I don’t know. But I do make a habit of praying every day and asking God for knowledge of his will. Step 12, well, here I am caring the message. But not just this, I do a lot of service work for my home group in NA not to mention CMA, I stay connected to Fresh Start, and help by donating my time to the alumni whenever possible. Of course, I make a conscious effort to practice all 12 spiritual principles in all my affairs. We practice Conscious Contact versus Conscious Comfort.

Deepest Gratitude and Respect, Chad Black.

 

To donate this Father's Day to help more men and famlies get well please click here. 

 

  

Impending Doom


Bob L. at the Banff Round Up left us with this aphorism: “I was always cleaning up the wreckage of the future.”


One understanding of this is the fear and anxiety that I experience during the day. Often, I have started the day with a sense of impending doom. At other times, I don’t start with that feeling but acquire it through the day. The feeling seems to arise spontaneously. No reason or cause for that feeling of dread and doom that I can see or discern, but the feeling is there. And I combine this feeling with the alcoholic magic trick of converting feelings to facts. If I feel it, then it must be true.

This sense of impending doom colours my view of the whole world. I don’t know what is going to go wrong, or why it is going to go wrong. But I am convinced something is going to go wrong and it will hurt. It is like having a pair of un-rose coloured glasses, glasses that can filter anything I see and convert it to something bad and something to be feared.

What a way to live.

This feeling can pop up at any time during a day. I could have a great morning, an excellent lunch and then on arriving at the office something could set me off, and I would have a fresh and abiding sense of impending doom.

The frequency of this feeling was so great that I developed an acronym, a short form that I could use to describe my state of fear, I started referring to this feeling as my ID’s. My Impending Doom sense. It was handy for calls with my sponsor. I could short form the problem and say “I am suffering from the ID’s.” Or I could tell my wife Doreen, “I have a case of the ID’s.”

I can tell you, from my experience and observation, that the fastest way to rid myself of the ID’s is to ask for help. I learned after many experiences of the appearance of the ID’s and calling for help, the ID’s went away more and more quickly. Often by simply stating the problem, the ID’s went away. My sponsor got used to me calling, saying “I am suffering from a case of the ID’s… thanks, I just needed to say that. Goodbye.” That was all I needed. Sometimes the ID’s would dissipate as I dialled the number. Sometimes I had to talk about what was going on. Regardless – reaching out evaporated the ID’s.

So, I don’t yet know why they occur, but I do know how to deal with them. Pick up the ##$% phone.

Andy Crooks
 

recovery, addiction, family healing, calgary treatment centre  
  

Having a Name Does Not Fix It



Having a name for something, especially a problem is beautiful. It just helps. It can steer to the correct treatment or solution. Or at least away from the wrong remedies or solutions.

But it does not fix the problem, fixing requires action.

I am an alcoholic. I drank alcoholically all the time. That is an excellent name for my condition. It helps to know the name of the problem, but it does not fix it. I have to have a spiritual awakening to fix it, and I can achieve that by doing the steps. The steps have one promise and one promise only. The result of these steps is a spiritual awakening. That will fix the alcoholic problem.

I suffer from Narcissistic Injuries all the time. That is an excellent name for my sensitive nature. Narcissistic Injury – a psychological term - taking personally utterly indifferent and objective events. I do that when my sense of self is fragile and when I depend on life going my way all the time. It helps to have a name, but that does not fix it. I have to do something to fix it.

Taking the steps fixes alcoholism. What fixes Narcissistic Injury? I have only found one solution to these injuries, and that is service. Service in AA, service in life, service at home, service with my children, service - a specific action that will benefit someone else. And that starts with a thought, thinking about the people around me, looking assiduously for something that would help them, make things easier for them, fill a need of theirs. To be thoughtful about someone other than me. That alone might solve the problem, but no, the action is necessary.

Like the Cub Scout helping the lady across the street, thinking about it will not be enough. I have to stop, go out of my way, offer assistance, listen carefully to make sure the old broad wants to cross the street, then extend my arm and help her with the traffic. Complex, but simple.

Doug M. offers service by cleaning sinks where ever he is. Hotels, coffee shops, locker rooms and his own bathrooms at home all benefit from his attention. Service. Chris helps a wheelchair-bound invalid with visits and errands. Service. David volunteers to open up a meeting. Service.

I buy flowers for my wife. Service, maybe, it could be self-interested thoughtfulness.

I have seen self-centred judgmentalism in myself and many of the fellows I work with over the years. It shows up in my inventories. It is a defect of character that manifests itself most strongly in Narcissistic Injuries. The only solution is service; at least that is the only solution I have found.

 

Andy Crooks

 

recovery, addiction, family healing, calgary treatment centre  
  

Jenny From the Block


Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is your own background with Fresh Start Recovery?

Jennifer Kent-Charpentier: I have been involved with Fresh Start for over 10 years now, I have been a part of the addiction counselling team from the start of my employment.  

Jacobsen: How did you find them and become involved with them?

Kent-Charpentier: I was at a social event and someone was asking me about my work experience and unbeknownst to me a gentleman was walking by and stopped when he heard me talking and asked about my work history.  He introduced himself as Stacey Petersen and stated he was the Executive Director of Fresh Start Recovery Centre, he suggested I forward him a resume as he was looking for new employees.  I had been working in addictions for quite some time and when my husband and I decided to start a family I took several years off to raise our children.  I was thinking about working again however I was not convinced I wanted to get back into working in addictions as I had spent many years already in the field.  Turns out I had a friend who worked at Fresh Start and I asked her opinion about the validity of sending over my resume.  She told me that if Stacey suggested it, it was sincere. Honestly, I hesitantly sent my resume as I knew Fresh Start was a men’s only facility and I had never worked exclusively with men and really didn’t know if I wanted too. Shortly after I submitted my resume Stacey called me for an interview and before I was a block away he offered me a job and the rest is history.

Jacobsen: When you reflect on your own life, what lead you to an interest and life involvement with Fresh Start Recovery?

Kent-Charpentier: It was sheer coincidence, or serendipity, perhaps both.  I believe that the universe set me on the path I am on today. Any hesitation I may have had was quickly relieved when I got to witness the work that was happening at Fresh Start.  The staff were and still are compassionate, mindful, aware, not hiding behind policies, timelines and agendas.  People are treated with kindness and respect not shame and intimidation.  We not only work with the person that struggles with substance use, but we work with families and community because we know that everyone deserves healing.

Jacobsen: Regarding your own position as the program director, what tasks and responsibilities, and difficulties and enjoyments, come with the position?

Kent-Charpentier: The Program Manager is responsible for coordinating and providing structure and guidance to the counseling team, assisting counseling team with individualized case management, group therapy & bio-psychosocial assessment services including group & family counseling for residents/participants within the facility.  The biggest difficulty is the tragedy of the lives lost to the disease, this never gets easier. However, the joy of seeing someone recover and reconnect with themselves and their families is wonderful.

Jacobsen: What are some ways people can become involved and help out with Fresh Start Recovery?

Kent-Charpentier: There are a lot of ways to become involved and help out. The best thing to do is contact these two staff: Nicole@freshstartrecovery.ca and Wayne@freshstartrecovery.ca.   Wayne is the Director of Fund Development and one of Nicole’s responsibilities is volunteer coordinator.

Jacobsen: What are some of the heartwarming stories that you have come across in your time at Fresh Start Recovery? What has been one of the most drastic, positive life turnarounds that you have seen in your time there?

Kent-Charpentier: There are so many wonderful stories involving men and just as many that are about family and friends.  Every story starts with one person who feels hopeless and lost but with the help of a recovery community, treatment, education and renewal of their faith, amazing changes occur for everyone.  Sometimes the most beautiful changes involve someone learning how to set healthy clear boundaries for themselves and others, and really understanding that they are not alone.  This is beautiful to witness in others when they find hope and an inner strength to keep moving forward.

Jacobsen: Any final thoughts or feelings in conclusion?

Kent-Charpentier:  I am humbled daily by the courage of others who despite their fears make a choice to live in the solution.  This is why I continue to work at Fresh Start Recovery Centre, I have seen people make these changes and am grateful to be a part of this bigger process.

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Loving Recovery


On February 14, 2013 I updated my Facebook status to say how good life was and how lucky I am to have met the man of my dreams and how grateful I am for having two healthy beautiful kids. Just three short hours later, my world came crashing down when I learned that my husband was addicted to methamphetamines.

How could I miss the signs that were mounting over the past year? I felt so alone. Who can I talk to? Who would understand this mess? I felt i couldn’t talk to my friends or my parents for fear of their judgment. I felt like I had nowhere to turn.

We found some help for my husband John at Fresh Start. This was the beginning of his journey of treatment and recovery. For me, I found myself stuck in the thoughts of anger, blaming and resentment. I heard about a program there called the Family Healing Program and decided this was MY next right thing.  It was a game changer. I learned about the disease of addction and how it impacted me and my life.  I met others who were having similar feelings as me. I made some friends in that group and I realized that I was not alone. I learned that John‘s addiction was not my fault and that there were other support programs like Al-Anon to help me, and others like me, learn to take care of themselves. John just celebrated five years of being clean. For me, I am doing my work on my codependency and healing. We are both still growing and our relationship is better than it’s ever been. Our two young daughters are looking forward to swapping cards with the two most important valentines in their life, their mom and dad. If you wish to help this Valentines day you can Click to donate . Thank you!

Many Blessings Kate

recovery, addiction, family healing, calgary treatment centre  
  

Growth and Gratitude...an Interview with Fresh Starts Financial Administrator


An Interview with Pat Cole

By. Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is your own background with Fresh Start Recovery? How did you find them and become involved with them?

Pat Cole: FS actually found me. I met with Stacey after a couple of calls from Bruce H and from there forward it has been 8 years come September

Jacobsen: When you reflect on your own life, what lead you in an interest and life involvement with Fresh Start Recovery?

Growing up as a young girl, we moved to a small town and the first thing my dad did was to find the local drug dealer and threatened to break both his legs and arms if he sold to his kids. Well that was my first initiation and I never had much to do with drugs so my knowledge was limited, but not to alcohol. Bruce and I worked together a few years prior to me joining the FS Team. Initially it was just a job, but after being part of FS family, I realized how much my own family history is reflected in and part of the addictions/recovery community. I have seen the most beautiful changes in both my personal life and the friends I have. I recently lost a family member to this disease and all I can think of is the daughter he leaves behind and what the future would have been for him if he had found recovery.

Jacobsen: Regarding your own position as the financial administrator and human resource administrator, what tasks and responsibilities, and difficulties and enjoyments, come with the position?

Tasks/Responsibilities - ensuring we have funding for the men who come for treatment. The difficult part is working through red tape with some funding programs, but once they understand how our program works, they are more engaging and want to try and have funding available for not just this one individual but for others who may come later. We have men with different backgrounds and with that comes a variety of funding resources. We have some that absolutely, due to family obligations, can't cover the cost of treatment but you can see how bad they want it. When we decide to waive the fees for program, the look of disbelief and relief on the individuals face is the most amazing thing to see. The facial transformation is the same as if you told someone they won the lottery! It is that much of a stress reliever. Their whole attitude changes both internally and externally. Responsibility of the job is knowing what part of a mans program I can help with and which part I can't. My enjoyment comes from watching families come for gratitude ceremonies or birthdays and celebrate the accomplishment of their loved one, the family reconnection. The part I love most about doing my job is when men come to sit and just have a chat and tell me about their day. They will try to figure out if I am in recovery or not which is funny. I tell them it doesn't matter the only difference is the decisions and life choices we made in circumstances that changed our paths.

Jacobsen: What are some ways people can become involved and help out with Fresh Start Recovery?

Cole: We do a variety of fundraising and friend raising events throughout the year. We have our annual motorcycle road rally and are always looking for volunteers. This year’s ride is August 25th. Taxes are one of the biggest needs that need to be done for the men. Some have just one year but others come with ten years worth of history to be processed with Revenue Canada. Volunteers with experience in filing taxes for either an individual or an individual who has had a business would be a great help to us in helping men who struggle in this area.

Jacobsen: What are some of the heartwarming stories that you have come across in your time at Fresh Start Recovery? What has been one of the most drastic, positive life turnarounds that you have seen in your time there?

Cole: I can name a few stories I have seen since I started with Fresh Start. I am so amazed at the determination, strength, heart and talent that each man brings with them. We had a gentleman come in who lost his brother to the disease. He had already been with us a few times but left each time thinking he was there. This time his thinking, his heart, emotions, all were put on the table for everyone to see. He celebrated a year of sobriety and it was the most amazing experience to watch as his family stood there with so much love and pride.

Jacobsen: Any final thoughts or feelings in conclusion?

During my time with FS I have met men that they vary in age, so walking through the front doors of FS, whether it be the first or the tenth time, takes so much determination and courage.

There are some who walk through our doors and they look so lost, scared and imitated while others are glad to be home, you can feel and see the tension leave and the body relax, knowing they are somewhere safe. After 16 weeks of group, gratitude comes and we are like proud parents who see their children filled with a new self confidence, stand tall, hear the sound of laughter as it comes back to them, we see them form bonds with both staff and their fellow housemates.

Just to watch and see the growth is something I am grateful to be able to experience and share. Someone once looked up the definition of "Recovery" - a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength. Then he had to define "normal" - conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. I believe we are all in Recovery from something AND we are all also normal, it is the path we follow which ultimately brings us together and allows us to see how much we can accomplish with a little love, sometimes tough love, and always friends.

recovery, addiction, family healing, calgary treatment centre  
  

Liberia and Liberation


An Interview with Tong Liech - Support Worker, Fresh Start Recovery Centre

Scott Douglas Jacobsen *This interview has been edited.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: To begin, was there a family background with addiction or recovery?

Tong Liech: Yes, my father was a bit of a heavy drinker in my younger years, but not anymore.

Jacobsen: How was growing up in terms of observations of a culture of substance use, at least in this country?

Liech:  I grew up in Liberia and I didn’t get into drugs or alcohol until I came to this country. It all started when I was in high school. I was trying to fit in with the new crowd. It started there. Then it grew into an addiction.

Jacobsen: Do you think that is a common story among those that end up using early on?

Liech: I think so. It plays a part because, for me, I really wanted to fit in, and the only way I could fit in was to start drinking and smoking weed, and cigarettes, just to fit in with the crowd.

Jacobsen: Having some time growing up in Liberia then Canada, do you note this as a consistent thing across cultures?

Liech: I was young in Liberia. So, I wasn’t paying attention really. I only know my father and uncle. They used to drink. I actually had my first taste of beer from my father. Substance misuse, I wasn’t really aware.

I would hear about people smoking opium, but I was a kid. Right? So, I wasn’t really registering. I wasn’t really focusing on what that was. There is a big difference there between Liberia and Canada. I moved to Canada when I was 15 turning 16. When I came here, that is when I started drinking. I started drinking and then drugs came later on. I started smoking marijuana when I was 17. Then in my early 20s, I got introduced to cocaine and the addiction sped up.

​​Jacobsen: When did you find Fresh Star Recovery Centre?

Liech: I found them in 2007. I was on the wait list for about a month or a month and a half. Before that, I had attended treatment twice. I relapsed from that program and need a long term treatment program which is where I found Fresh Start.

Jacobsen: What was the experience like for you going there? What were some key moments of realization and awakening for you?

Liech: First, most of the staff working there were in recovery. They understood the addiction first hand because they had all been there. That played a big part. They understood where I had been and what I was going through. That was a big part for me.

I mean, that was the main part. There were other parts like what they were teaching me in group and my daily routine. Things like attending AA and NA meetings a few times a week. It was helpful to me. The counsellors there are all good people.

Jacobsen: You are a support worker for them as well. What are some of the more moving experiences for you?

Liech: They staff really care about every resident. I have seen men come in and try their best to get sober but then they relapse, and they were brought back in – again and again. That’s one of the big things that I see there. These guys running the facility really care. They never give up on anyone.

If a man relapses, he’s still welcome back to treatment. No shame. No judgement. They still have faith and won’t give up on the guy. Other people would have given up on these guys. Fresh Start staff did not give up on them. They went out of their way to help the guys out with whatever they need. They have great love there. That’s what I see.

Jacobsen: For those that starting to sense for themselves that they have problems with substances, and that they likely need help, what would be your message to them? How can they get in contact with Fresh Start Recovery?

Liech: For anyone struggling with addiction and want to turn it around, they can call us at 403-387-6266. We are staffed 24/7 so we will always take your call. You can also find us online www.freshstartrecovery.ca as well as social media sites. Reach out…we are here to help. We can give you the information that you need to know to get started.

Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Tong.

recovery, addiction, family healing, calgary treatment centre  
  

Being Where I Am


I heard a great comment at a meeting recently. The person sharing said, “I can choose to be where my feet are located, or not.”

I can choose to be where my feet are located. I can choose to be present where I am. I can choose to grow where I am planted.

Or I can fail to choose to be anywhere, which means I am nowhere, and my mind will drift around to whatever shiny thing seems to be attractive and interesting. A pleasant, but wasteful use of time and mental energy for sure. Almost like daydreaming, which is next, but more insidious because it is active and therefore seems useful and appropriate. But at the end of the day, if I am further ahead than at the beginning, it is only good luck.

ShoesOr dreaming and imagining. I used to mistake daydreaming for planning. I would occupy myself with fantasies of grandeur. Material possessions, fame and fortune, sexual conquests and even, I am ashamed to admit, delusions of spiritual magnificence. My lack of presence in the moment was astounding. It might look like I was present and accounted for, but if you could see inside my mind, I was a long way away.

Or thinking about what I am going to say next. That was a favourite trick. Listening would often mean to me “thinking about what I am going to say.” It might look like I am paying attention to you, but if you could look inside my head, you would find that I am busy composing what I am going to say. Oblivious to what is going on and what you are saying to me. My mind is not where my feet are planted, that is for sure.

Or living in fear and trembling in terror. I might look like I am in a state of comfort and ease, but again if you looked inside you would see a different picture. Inside I am imaging all manner of loss and shame arising from goodness knows what. Out of thin air, I can visualize and map out complete and unmitigated disasters. At least that is what it feels like.

So even when I am standing in my shoes, I am not there. I have mental choices and to be present and mindful. That is a choice. My mind will wander at the drop of a hat. But I can choose otherwise and bring myself back to the present. I can choose to be where my feet are located.

And for me, it starts in the morning in my preparation for the day. Thinking ahead. Looking at my calendar and mentally going through the meetings, phone calls and conversations that are ahead. Thinking about each one. Visualizing it and working through likely problems and benefits. Mindful of God during the process.

A recent conversation with Layne is on point. At my suggestion, he had read Dr. Bob and the Good Old Timers. And he noted, “back in the old days, morning preparation for the day was regarded as more important than meetings.” I think that he is right in this. For me, the morning preparation is more important than meetings. (Interesting, when I am diligent in my morning preparation I often feel like a meeting – and when I go I am more often than not giving not getting.

This sets the day up, like a ball on a tee in golf.

Just a final point and an amusing and important wordplay. Have you noticed that if you are Now and Here then you are somewhere, and life has meaning; but if you bang those words together you are Nowhere, and life has no meaning. So mind the gap between Now and Here and in that gap, be mindful for if you lose the gap, then you are Nowhere.

Andy Crooks

 

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FROM OUR BLOG

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In the last couple of weeks, Fresh Start has been blessed with three really exciting pieces of news that we would like to share with you. 

 

1. Charity Intelligence Canada has recognized Fresh Start as being a Top 10 Impact Charity in Canada for the fourth year in a row based on the high Social Return on Investment (SROI) that Fresh Start delivers to community. Click here for full announcement. This kind recognition is based on performance that doesn’t happen in isolation. It is the work of an entire community coming together to be bigger than the sum of the parts. These parts include:

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Our tag line is “Eat Good. Do Good” and that is exactly what our social enterprise food truck and soon to be café is doing. Serving up recovery themed items such as “The Dr. Bob (bacon burger) and The Bill Wilson (cheeseburger)” named after Alcoholics Anonymous’ founders; when you eat here you are doing more than just purchasing a meal, you could be saving a life.  The food truck is part of a social enterprise project under Fresh Start Recovery Centre's umbrella with all profits generated going back into helping more men and families get well from the disease of addiction.

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Tuesday I became a dad.  Yesterday was my one year anniversary with my amazing and supportive wife.  Today is my first Father's  Day with our five day old baby girl Zoey and on Tuesday we will be purchasing a condo in Hawaii (yes Hawaii) where we moved a few months ago.  To say my life is a miracle is an understatement; and with the gift I have an opportunity to share it with others in hopes of helping, inspiring,or perhaps creating a little more ease in ones life.  If you are struggling - I get it. I did too.  For most of my life.  What I know is that you have to want this.  With a true desire to change your life, a support system and a higher power - you can and will get better.  I offer you how i worked the steps as you must do the work also to get better.  Faith without works in dead. 

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Nov-15-2018
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Family Healing Program


Nov-21-2018
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Alumni Birthday Celebration


Nov-22-2018
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Family Healing Program


Nov-29-2018
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Family Healing Program


Dec-07-2018
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Christmas Open House