Hope Lives Here, at New Roads
Hope is a word we often toss around casually as if it has no weight. But it does. We feel it is light because we so desperately need it in our lives, but to give someone hope is often a difficult and trying task. Hope can also mean the difference between not caring if you live or die, and not only wanting to live, but to live well. Hope lives here, at New Roads.
There are many stories of hope that exist at New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Community in View Royal. Most of the men, however, are too fragile to share beyond the walls and each other. For many, this is where they have found themselves again:
“New Roads is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on yourself. This includes trauma, grief, loss, and the chance to be vulnerable, work on defects of character and the awareness to change for a manageable lifestyle. Creating healthy support and community connections lead to a belonging to the community as a whole.”
“[It’s a chance to] live addiction free, cultivate our hearts and minds so we may grow new life into our lives and heal from the drugs, jail, and marginalization.”
“It is a challenging program but the potential results are worth [it]. This is the healthiest I have been in close to 20 years!”
“[It’s] giving freedom of insanity and hopelessness.”
“This place saved my life.”
Hope, and healing, at New Roads starts with a group of men looking out for each other. With an average of 30 residents at any given time, men who arrive at New Roads are truly given a second chance at breaking the cycle of addiction, homelessness and hopelessness.
“The men who come to us are so profoundly unwell from a number of things, and severe addiction is a big part of that,” says Cheryl Diebel, director of New Roads. “We have men all the way to 70+ years old who have been using for decades, and then we have some who are only 25 and have used drugs and alcohol since they were just nine years old. When someone has been that entrenched in the world of addiction for so long, you can’t change that trajectory in a 30, 60 or even 90-day program. When they come to New Roads, we give them a toolkit of different ways in which to deal with their lives without turning to crime or substance use.”
Everyone who enters the program is provided a safe, healthy, and comfortable environment to heal from past trauma and the impact of severe substance use disorder.
The initial phase of the program is six to eight weeks, with medical care and no contact outside the internal peer community. This helps the men ground themselves and evaluate their outside connections. The second phase involves group work and individual sessions with a therapist to get to the root of addictions and plan for recovery. It’s at least four months of work but might go six or longer if that’s what is needed. The third phase reconnects the men to the outside community, which often includes a resident who’s in the fourth phase taking a mentorship role for those entering phase three. The program’s final stage encourages the men to focus on employment and educational programs to prepare them for life outside New Roads.
Formal achievement celebrations hosted by residents take place once a month and include a special meal, recognition of movement from all the phases, including graduation. When a resident graduates a special ceremony is held within the monthly celebration with a blanket given to them to take on their new journey.
Over the past year, New Roads had a record number of graduates: 11 in total, with 10 men moving into secured housing, employment, or continuing education. Critical to their success has been their continued focus on recovery from substance-use disorder. The New Roads Continuing Care Coordinator provides support to former residents to ensure integration once they have moved from the centre into the broader community.
“It’s not just the idea that someone leaves here and doesn’t drink or use again,” adds Cheryl. “It’s that when they go, they’re leaving physically and mentally healthier as a result of what they can access here. The men come here together, and for the first time in their lives they realize they’re not on the path alone.”
As one resident said: “New Roads wants us to understand why we do what we do and create new behaviour and attitude patterns: to feel purpose and self-worth no matter what our paths were, and to grieve and forgive ourselves for our harms done and make our past our greatest asset moving forward.”
Men who come to New Roads benefit from programs that are only made possible because of our donors. Residents heal from compound trauma through things like intensive journalling, yoga and meditation, music and art therapy, and healthy meals and regular exercise. Donate now to help create an atmosphere of hope and belonging not only at New Roads, but all of the sites at Our Place!