In 2019, ShareLife raised about $15 million to support 43 agencies that help our neighbours who are facing difficult times in their lives. One of those agencies is St. Michael's Homes, which provides holistic recovery programs for men with substance abuse challenges.
Robin Griller, Executive Director of St. Michael's Homes, explains how donations to ShareLife make a life-changing difference to men who are overcoming substance abuse disorders.
1. Can you describe the work done by St. Michael's Homes?St. Michael's Homes provides support for men in the early stages of recovery from substance use challenges. We currently have five programs:
2. How is St. Michael's Homes' approach to addiction recovery different than what is used by most other programs? We are different from other addiction services in a number of ways. Our program is based on a holistic psycho-social model of recovery that recognizes:
3. Do you have a success story that you can share with us?
James (not his real name) grew up in Toronto, married young and had a child. He had a steady job and he had bought a house.
When James's marriage broke down, so did his happiness. James faced depression due to the loss of the marriage and not being able to see his child. He found himself jobless and alone.
The emotional turmoil that came with these problems led James to drugs. The drugs were an escape, allowing him to forget his problems. He was only happy when he was high.
James fell into a cycle: Find a low paying job, work for the first pay cheque and then get high on drugs until the money ran out. Each turn through the cycle ended in a worsening low that had James praying for death.
With his family's support, James completed a treatment program. However, afterwards he found himself without a support system in place and he ended up relapsing.
Back in the cycle of addiction, James's life revolved around unhealthy relationships. Isolated from his family, he once again thought about suicide. But the arrival of a second child made him think about his family and forced him to seek help.
He joined the treatment program at St. Michael's Homes and worked diligently on his recovery. After completing treatment, he entered the Transitional Housing Program. With his support system in place, he was able to work through issues with his family and build a new life.
James has been supported in helping his sick father and reconnecting with his mother, sisters and youngest son.
With the help of St. Michael's Homes staff he has come to realize that relapse is often part of recovery and has worked through stressful periods, learning how to recognize and avoid triggers. James has focused his energies on stabilizing his life, volunteering in the house and eventually returning to work.
James knows hope exists and says, "Help is there, but it's up to you to do the work. Nobody does it for you."
4. How does support from ShareLife help St. Michael's Homes do this work?
We couldn't accomplish our work without ShareLife. The housing program is the focus of Sharelife's funding. We have support from the Ministry of Health to pay for the buildings and administration. But ShareLife dollars pay for the staff who provide individual supports to the men in our housing program and the group activities (both therapeutic and social!) that make this a warm and supportive home environment. ShareLife ensures we are able to provide good food, bedding and all the other material things our men need as they move into a new life of recovery from substance use disorders.
Watch this video to learn more about ShareLife and St. Michael's Homes.
Thanks to your generosity, ShareLife can support agencies that live the Gospel mission in our community. Click here to support ShareLife and receive a charitable donation tax receipt.