Stories of Recovery

November 13, 2019. Article by: Government of BC

Mental health and substance use challenges can be different for everyone.

How these challenges start, the way people experience them, and the pathways people take to recover can look very different from person to person.

In the fall issue of its magazine, Island Health featured personal stories that highlight just how different mental health and substance use challenges can be. But while each story is different, there is one consistent theme – the healing power of building connections and relationships. Read two of the stories below.

Recovery with opioid agonist therapy

Client story provided by Louise Takhar, Outreach, Rapid Access Addiction Clinic.

The transformation that opiate agonist therapy (OAT) and the welcoming care that people receive at our clinic provides folks with an opportunity to make positive changes in their lives.

One success story that will stay with me is a client named Bill. Bill was homeless and always seemed grateful for the Ensure (meal replacement beverage) that was offered each time he arrived at the clinic. Bill had been taking prescribed oxycodone for pain for many years up until his doctor stopped prescribing it. At that point, he started taking illicit street drugs including heroin and fentanyl which eventually resulted in an overdose, and revival by administering Naloxone.

Through the Rapid Access Addiction Clinic (RAAC), Bill was prescribed the opiate replacement medication Kadian which is a slow release morphine. Once a stable dose of the opiate replacement was identified, Bill reported that he wasn’t using illicit substances. He then found housing through the Salvation Army and now works part time as peer support for a non-profit local organization.

Bill has shared with us how grateful he is for the kindness we showed him, and for treating him with respect, and for not talking down or shaming him.

Recovery through support

Client story provided by Cait Marco, Youth Outreach, Addiction Medicine Consult Services team at Victoria General Hospital.

I met Kylie, a 15-year old female on the paediatric floor following a suicide attempt while under the influence of alcohol. At first, Kylie appeared to have low mood and was hesitant to engage. After meeting with Kylie in hospital four times over a week and a half it was apparent we were slowly building a therapeutic relationship.

Since being discharged from hospital Kylie has been texting me to check in regularly, and update me about successfully achieving some of her substance use goals. Kylie has also been attending the Drop-in Wellness Group, facilitated by me and peer support from Foundry in Victoria.

Kylie is now accessing counselling, peer support and primary care needs at the Foundry on a regular basis. Kylie now appears to be someone who is accessing multiple services in order to meet her needs. She has drastically decreased her alcohol intake and improved her interpersonal relationships with family and close friends. She is planning for September and hopes to excel in her classes at school as she wants to go to university to become a lawyer one day.

Recovery can look different for everyone

Read more stories like Bill and Kylie’s  in Island Health magazine, The Journey of Recovery.

Recovery is positive, achievable and sustainable. It can help people with substance use-related challenges build stronger connections with family, friends and community, and lead to more stability and improved quality of life. Learn more:

Stories provided courtesy of the Umbrella Society.

Photo Credit: Island Health