My name is Carrie. I’ve been sober for four years and I’m a living example of ASK Wellness Society’s framework of Streets, to Homes, to Health, to Employment. I’m also an example of how it takes a community to support one person.
My story is complex. I struggled with significant substance abuse since the age of fourteen. I got myself into terrible situations and had terrible things happen to me for multiple decades. While facing my addiction, I was in and out of homelessness, using shelters and short-term housing for many years.
On January 8th, 2019, I exited homelessness for the very last time when I was accepted to the Maverick. Now, this was not my first time in intensive residential treatment. This was actually my seventh time in treatment. Lucky number seven! At this time, I was finally ready. And the supports were there when I was ready. Being in the Maverick was the first time that I felt a sense of hope. I never thought I was someone who could achieve sobriety.
It’s important for people to know that the continuous support that I received at the Maverick and the feeling of safety is what really made the difference. They supported me in ways that I’ve never had before. I had a safe home with caring staff, I had an addictions doctor, who I still have today, and I had a counselor through Interior Health, who I still see today.
That sense of hope and support has not left my side. I have been supported to secure long-term housing and I have returned to work. I was accepted to the Work Experience Program through the Maverick and worked at the Mattress Recycling Program for a year. This was my first job in over 25 years! I have graduated from the Work Experience Program and now have a permanent position within the Health Navigation Program. My job brings me my routine, stability, and purpose. I know that I’m doing meaningful work, using my skills, and giving back to the organization that supported me. My parting message is that I not only have a life, but I have a life of joy and purpose. That joy is because the work and support of community – ASK Wellness Society, Interior Health Authority, the RCMP, and the recovery community. And because of my own hard work.