Providing support every step of the way

Health, Wellness & Recreation

Photo: Tamarack Recovery Centre’s new location at 54 Balmoral. With funding from The Foundation, Tamarack was able to purchase this building just doors away from its original location at 60 Balmoral. Photos courtesy of Tamarack.
Tamarack Recovery services helps people struggling with addictions at every stage of their recovery journey.

For people who are struggling with addictions and mental health, the recovery process can be a long and difficult journey. Organizations like Tamarack Recovery Centre are ensuring that people can access the supports they need no matter where they are on their recovery path.

Situated in the West Broadway neighbourhood, Tamarack Recovery Centre provides residential programming that addresses behavioural and substance addictions.

“Clients will stay with us in our home for between 60 and 78 days,” says Lisa Cowan, Executive Director of Tamarack Recovery Centre. “They’ll be full participants in group therapy and one-to-one individual therapy, as well as taking part in the day-to-day activities in the house, like making meals and sharing suppers together.”

Tamarack’s programming runs Monday through Friday, from morning to the afternoon, and is designed with two goals in mind: the first is to help clients build skills to work through their addictions and create a plan for their lives to prevent a potential relapse.

“[We ask], ‘What do you need to do when you’re feeling anxious or angry about a situation, rather than turning to some old behaviours,’” Cowan says.

The second is to address the traumas and pain that people have experienced that led to their addictions.

“For many individuals, this leaves them lacking some skills for how to cope with the tough emotions that any of us feel in our day to day lives, and a lot more vulnerable to use substances or other behaviours to try to manage those feelings,” Cowan says.

Tamarack ensures clients have the supports they need whenever they need them. Counsellors have an open-door policy and meet with clients one-to-one, once or twice a week.

“We offer an open door to any client who’s graduated the program and has a certain period of sobriety just to come here and be safe.”

Lisa Cowan, Tamarack Recovery Centre Executive Director

A client’s recovery journey doesn’t end after graduation. Tamarack ensures the wrap-around supports they have access to don’t end, which helps clients be equipped for the challenges they may face following completion of the program. Graduates can meet with their counsellor, check in with their past groups, or take part in aftercare groups that take place twice a week.

“We offer an open door to any client who’s graduated the program and has a certain period of sobriety just to come here and be safe,” Cowan says. “If that means coming at 2:00 in the morning, because this is a safe place where you just want to sit, be somewhere safe, and talk to a friendly face, then we’re here.”

Tamarack has a high success rate, with 85 per cent of clients successfully completing the program and approximately 87 per cent remaining sober over the two years. Cowan credits this success to the supports Tamarack maintains for its graduates.

“People will come back… to share positive news, like ‘I’ve got my kids back in my life,’” Cowan says. “We want people to come back at any point and share the [negatives] as well, because when life can get more tricky at different points, there’s that relationship and connection still maintained.”

In January, in response to feedback from community leaders and the charitable sector, The Winnipeg Foundation announced $5.27 million in grants support for mental health, addictions and community safety programming. See the story – Addressing mental health, addictions and community safety challenges.

For Tamarack, its grant supports the purchase of a transitional house so that it can continue providing wrap-around supports for graduates. The property Tamarack acquired is two doors down from its current facility.

“We will be able to literally send clients just down the road a couple of steps and be able to offer that support so close by,” Cowan says.

In addition, the grant from The Winnipeg Foundation is also helping remove financial barriers by supporting 20 funded treatment spaces. Tamarack will also continue to focus on building awareness and destigmatizing addictions through community outreach.

“[There’s a] need for people to feel comfortable and able to reach out and learn more about what’s being offered in the community,” Cowan says.

Cowan notes the grant from The Foundation is beyond any other funding received from an organization.

“It’s not very often that you have somebody come in and say, ‘What do you need?’” Cowan says. “We’re very happy to share what we need, and to feel like that was heard and responded to, is just wonderful.”.

For info:

Recipient: Tamarack Recovery Centre
Program: Treatment and post-treatment, as well as capital and programming support
Grant: $1,754,171, drawn from the Moffat Family Fund

This story is featured in the Spring 2020 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.

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