We support Charlie as he works hard to stay sober

As with many of our residents, Charlie had come to Vancouver for a “fresh start” from Eastern Canada away from his family there.  As an underage youth, we found out, he was coming with a history in Foster Care and living in group homes.  He proved to be a hard worker in construction, but we soon found out he struggled with drug and alcohol use, often mixing dangerous amounts of both, as a way to self-medicate for anxiety and other health concerns.

It took a lot of time for him to open up to staff, and he left the Crisis Program for a period of time after receiving a large lump sum of money, going on a bender of drugs and alcohol.  He bounced between the street and other safe houses, but eventually found his way back to Covenant House Vancouver.

It was his birthday – he was turning 19, and we were concerned that he was going to be tempted to use drugs and alcohol.  He had some work gear to return to a store, so his youth worker offered to escort him there, to support him to stay sober, and hand in his money. Covenant House requires youth to save 80 percent of their money while staying at our Crisis Program to help with savings as well as teaching an important life skill. It took a lot of convincing, but he eventually agreed to the escort, as well as handing in his identification and bankcards so that it would be more difficult for him to purchase alcohol and drugs.  It turned out a liquor store was right next to the store, and Charlie jokingly bee-lined towards it, but then went for some tea with his youth worker instead.

They saw many of his peers in the community and lots of possible triggers to use but they came back and Charlie handed in his money. He was able to order special food as a way to celebrate his birthday, instead of going out drinking for the night. These are small steps, but ways we are making inroads in our relationship with him, and supporting him to make healthier choices, as we also work on long term goals of connecting him to mental health supports and physical health supports in order to address his underlying needs behind his addiction issues.

Shared by Team Leader, Deegy