In the Adventure
Program, as it is known at the Burnaby Centre, clients who have shown great
commitment to their recovery that month get to take part in thrilling
activities like sea kayaking, canoeing or hiking that they may not have
experienced before. The program both motivates clients on their recovery
journeys and helps people feel more connected with nature, which has demonstrated therapeutic benefits.
Chris came to The
Burnaby Centre after taking part in Alcoholics Anonymous and looking for help
in other treatment programs. Nothing had previously helped him enough with his
substance use issues for him to stop for good, because nothing addressed the
reasons he was using.
The Burnaby Centre
doesn't just treat substance use issues—clients also have serious mental health
issues and often histories of trauma, which are often part of why they use. It
is the only program of its kind in Canada.
Chris has found the
varied of programming available to him there a great help.
"Here at the
Burnaby Centre, I'm really happy that we have the opportunity to go out into
the wilderness and do things like canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding,"
he says. "When I'm in my addiction, I isolate myself, door closed, lights
off, and I stay all alone. Being so free in nature is surreal; it makes me feel
connected and helps me understand how exciting and fulfilling life as a sober
person could be."
The program also
helps clients like Chris feel optimistic and excited about the future.
"I know that
when I leave the Burnaby Centre after my nine-month stay, I think I will be
able to go through life with without feeling the depression or desperation that
I used to feel."
provides opportunities for clients to try a variety of different
activities," says Joel Nystrom, a recreation therapist at the Burnaby
Centre. "It is our hope that clients continue to pursue these interests
during and after their stay at Burnaby Centre. This will allow them to have
healthy and meaningful interests in the community and positive ways of spending
their free time.
program is run in partnership with Power to Be, a non-profit that
empowers people to explore who they are and what they are capable of through
connecting them with nature.