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It’s the ability to love and be loved, a willingness to forgive, it is compassion and celebrating the present. It is  also something you want to pay forward.”
– Lisa Simone - National Communications Director, FSRC

 

Recovering Gratitude

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Charity Intelligence has picked the most effective Canadian charities it has found which combat issues such as hunger, homelessness, and improving education.  Evidence shows the 10 CCIF charities all make a significant difference in the lives of Canadians and are likely to be the most effective at changing lives.  Ci’s Director of Research, Greg Thomson, says “if you were investing in companies, you would choose those most likely to give the best return. We’re trying to get the best return in combatting poverty in Canada.”

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I started hearing people say that “a grateful addict will never use.” That sounded like a good plan, but I didn’t understand what it meant. Sure, I could say I was grateful to still be alive, that I was returning to health, that my family supported me. All things I thought I should be grateful for.

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For every parent watching a child go through the process of addiction, my friend, Scott Oake, from Hockey Night in Canada. Him and his wife, Anne Oake, are working to build a treatment centre for their son who passed away. Scott said, “We are only as happy as our unhappiest child.” If you have a child that has an addiction, it is part of your daily life. It is with you every day.

When they get clean, the parents think, “Please let this be the last time.” I sat with a colleague of mine. I came across him in a parkade. He was crying. I said, “What’s going on?” He said, “His son had overdosed and died.” The one thing that he said that he would do in a heartbeat is that he would take it all back in terms of always being on him about the drug use. He would have taken it all back and spend that time loving him.

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The key to all of that is a simple thing. Everybody tries to get that hole filled from outside sources. It is an ‘inside job.’ There are a few things to do this gig. That is love who you are and love what you do. From that, you cannot fail. I like what Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want”.

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One thing that came with growing up in the rooms is also growing up in life. Maturity was something new to me, especially emotional maturity. I made plenty of mistakes in my first few years of recovery, acting out, getting into unhealthy relationships, overspending, and lacking commitment.  I got to experience all of it. That was a blessing, because each experience brought growth and light to my life.

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“It’s not your fault”, “if you think it is your fault there is help available”, “you don’t need to carry this around for the rest of your life, there is always room for forgiveness however there must be willingness”.  I am not sure how many times I say these phrases in a week to people, the people that care for, love, desperately fight with, fear, and even despise loved ones who suffer from the disease of addiction. 

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My dad was many things and growing up his struggle was like an intermittent undercurrent pulling us down and swirling us in any direction without warning. 

He always had a job, we always had food on the table, he was kind, he was loved.  My dad was a good man.  My dad was also a sick man.  For many years my mom would try and clean up his messes (and hers) to keep the illusion that we were a perfect family.  It was a deadly illusion…..as the shame and stigma my dad felt, kept him from reaching out and getting proper treatment or support. I was too young to really do anything, but looking back I could feel the quiet drowning of them both.

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In the summer of 2015 Darren and his 16-year-old son built a “facsimile” of a 1903 Harley Davidson Motorcycle and donated it to Fresh Start as a way to bond and thank the place that saved Darren’s life and created a new way of life for and stability for his son.

A nice story but it runs far deeper that that.

Darren takes his role as a father very seriously, but this wasn’t a skill that he learned growing up. In fact, he experienced more uncertainty from his parents than peace of mind and sound wisdom.

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I can surrender without change.  But when I abandon I change.  In fact, a surrender at some levels is a preservation of our existing status quo.  If I'm in a battle and I surrender, I surrender myself, but I preserve myself.  I also preserve my position and although I may have to pay tribute or live under a different regime I am still in place.  If I abandon my position in a wartime environment, I'm gone.

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A boy and his grandfather are hanging out. The boy says to his grandfather, How is it you never seem to get upset? Don't you ever feel angry?

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Dec-31-2018
9:00 PM –
Jan-01-2019
1:00 AM

NYE Clean and Sober Dance