Reading this post may help you or a loved one get the help they need or want.
It’s been 9 years since I went to Kakawis Family Development Center on Vancouver Island. Some years after I completed the program, the center moved and changed their name and now they’re in Port Alberni, operating under Kackaamin Family Development Center. From what I’ve heard, the program still operates a great family program and some of the same great staff is there but I couldn’t tell you for sure, as I’ve not been there myself.
I woke up a night after partying in early 2009 and realized I didn’t know how I got home due to a black out so that was it, plus I was tired of doing the same shitty things to my kids, partner and parents. I was getting older and had no real life plans, I just existed, and that was no life at all. Of course, specifics are more blurred now because of time, but I got in touch with a counselor and said I was ready to go to treatment. Knowing full well, “just quitting”, was impossible. I tried lots of things, like an in-community treatment program, moderation, stopping cold turkey and yet nothing helped me.
Fast forward to the day I left with the kids in my car, headed south to the island, with lots of fun stops along the way, trying to stay positive for them and not talk myself out of turning back around. There were so many things going on in my head like change, fear, unknown, strangers, different people, places and things, missing the party, my kids’ feelings, and everything else under the sun. You name it, I felt it, but away we went. We made it a few days later and soon enough we were there.
After 6 weeks, several of my family members came to greet us at Kakawis for our graduation ceremony and I tell you, it was the most emotional day of the whole program. Leaving my treatment community to come home to the same things, people and places that I left to get sober was scary and parts of me didn’t want to leave the safety and security of my sober family. I did, though, and my family went on a little vacation to Victoria for a few days before heading home and well, the rest is history. In 2010, my husband sobered up and we’ve never looked back. Our kids deserve so much better than what we’d started them off with.
“I woke up a night after partying in early 2009 and realized I didn’t know how I got home due to a black out so that was it, plus I was tired of doing the same shitty things to my kids, partner and parents. I was getting older and had no real life plans, I just existed, and that was no life at all.”
Ok, so the actual reason why you read this post; getting to treatment. What do you need to do?
Like I said, my memory is vague but with the help of Lynda Gwynn, I came up with this list of things you need to do to get yourself to treatment:
- Decide you want to go to a treatment center. I’m sure there are many across Canada, but for the sake of this post, I’m focusing on centers in British Columbia. Here’s a link to some centers in BC. Do a bit of research on them to decide where you want to go, keeping in mind that status medical pays for some and not for others. Decide if you want to go alone or if you want to take your kids, like I did. There’s a lot to consider and it will seem overwhelming but remember the end goal and how worth it will be.
- Once you’ve come up with some ideas of places you’d like to go, discuss this with a counselor. You will need a counselor to complete the center’s treatment application process. If you don’t have access to internet or a computer, you can discuss best options with a counselor, too. Libraries have free computer use, too.
- According the most treatment applications, you must have at least 6 sessions with a counselor before attending the center and many like you to be drug and alcohol-free for at least 2 weeks but it could be longer depending on each center’s requirements.
- As part of the application process, you will also need to get TB testing done. This can be done at your local clinic or health center if there’s a RN available.
- Once your entire medical is done and your family doctor completes their portion of the application, you and your counselor can send off the paper work. In most cases, the counselor will fax it off for you.
- Now you wait. You wait for an intake date from the center.
- Once you’ve been accepted to a center, you can plan your personal and family affairs accordingly. Ensure finances are in order, that bills will be paid while you’re away, and that you have a few dollars for any items you may need. Talk to your Nation’s patient travel to secure funding to travel to and from the center. Talk to Social Assistance to see how they can assist, too. I’m not sure how that works but your counselor may be able to provide more around that.
- Now you wait some more. Ensure all your sessions are completed before going to treatment, that you’ve abstained from drinking and drugs and that you’ve got all your affairs in order, so that when you pack up and go, you’re all ready. The time between you getting your intake date and the time you actually leave your community can be trying, hard and scary. You have a lot of time to talk yourself out of going, so find sober family and friends who will support and encourage your healthy choices. Of course that is always easier said than done but remember the end goal; you made this step for a reason, you want to be sober and healthy.
- You can and will complete treatment! Remember how good it will feel to be free of addiction. Remember how sick you were the last time you got wasted or high disgusted you felt after that high. Remember how impacted your kids are. Remember the end goal – You! Sober! You can do it!
Lastly, remember you are worth it. Our kids are worth it. Life is worth it. Life is too short to live in misery and drown in addiction. We’ve lost countless loved ones and friends because of alcohol and/or drugs and I choose not to be a statistic. I choose life. I want to live. I hope you do, too.
In good faith and healing,
Oh, wait! There’s more. Talk to other community members who went to treatment. More often than not, members are happy to help and tell their story if it means helping someone else have what they have or who are working to improve their life. I get healing from telling my story, so thank you for asking. I wish you well.