Patty smiles as she says Phoenix is her “sanctuary.”
The 56-year-old grandmother of four came to Phoenix in June of 2019 and hasn’t looked back.
“Best thing I ever did. I have 17 months clean today – and a lifetime to go,” she says.
Born into addiction, Patty has struggled with sobriety for the better part of her life. While she had sought help before arriving at Phoenix, she relapsed.
Her journey in life has been a tough one, spending much of her childhood in the foster care system: In one 10-year period she was moved around between 33 homes.
“So how does a kid learn to love, to trust, to be accepted? And in the majority of those homes there was abuse,” Patty says.
At Phoenix, Patty gained trust in the staff and found connection in the recovery community.
The continuum of programming at Phoenix made a difference for Patty in her recovery, who now lives in Transitional Housing.
“I think every place should have transitional housing because 90 days wouldn’t have been enough for me,” she said of treatment. “There’s no way.”
“It’s nice having your own independent living but still having the support and the arms of Phoenix around you. It might be a reality shock when I have to move out. But Phoenix has given me a lot of tools and I’m just going to run with it. I know this will always be my second home.”
Patty is also employed by Phoenix Society doing sanitization and housekeeping work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This work is allowing her to save money as she works towards completing the two-year Transitional Housing Program and settling back into the community.
“Phoenix has given me a new purpose in life.”
A simple brochure about Phoenix Society would prove to be the catalyst that would change the trajectory of JP’s life.
“It described going from essentially a fall-down addict on the street to a homeowner with schooling under your belt. It was unheard of. It gave me hope,” he recalls.
At the time, the 23-year-old was living a life of despair in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side and had already unsuccessfully tried to find recovery.
“The despair and the hopelessness I remember waking up with everyday was a heavy thing,” says JP. “I was 125 pounds, scabs spotted my face, my arms bruised with track-marks – no hope, no trust, no anything left inside me. I knew if I didn’t get help I was going to die.”
JP’s path at Phoenix wasn’t a linear one. He relapsed twice, but ultimately, made his way back through treatment, went through the Transitional Housing Program twice in order to complete it, and ultimately ended up in the Home Ownership Program he read about in that pamphlet all those years ago.
JP says he went “deep” into his recovery efforts during his time at Phoenix. During his time in the Music Therapy Program he learned to play guitar, and said it was an integral part of his growth.
“It was a big help for my psyche,” he said of music.
Today, JP has owned his home for roughly two years and works as a Senior Case Worker at a halfway house in Vancouver.
He says the Phoenix model was “life-changing” for him.
“I had tried other programs, but those places didn’t have transitional housing or a home ownership program. And the staff had our back, no matter what. People pick up on those vibes. There are other treatment centres or recovery houses where it feels like you’re sort of just another pay cheque for the month to month. But Phoenix always made it feel like home.”
Cover the cost of socks, gloves and a toque for an individual living in homelessness, distributed through Phoenix’s outreach programs.
Provide a weekly high-protein food hamper at Phoenix’s Prevention Assessment Referral Clinic Drop-in Centre.
Provide one hour of Music Therapy at Phoenix Society.
Provide one Family Therapy Counselling session to help those supporting loved ones with problematic substance use.
Cover a monthly rental subsidy for a Phoenix Society resident who has completed treatment and is settling back into housing in the community.
Cover the cost of a housing start-up kit for a client who has completed our Transitional Housing Program. This helps purchase furniture and other household items.
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