A Way to Heal

Health, Wellness & Recreation

Tamarack Recovery Centre provides the structure for clients to reconnect and recover safely

During the last four decades, Tamarack Recovery Centre has honed an approach for treating addiction and created a recovery structure with a high success rate.

Tamarack has served our community for nearly 50 years, offering trauma-informed treatment and support for alcohol and drug addiction, and helping individuals make lasting change in their lives. Lisa Cowan, Tamarack’s Executive Director, says, “Whether it’s making new connections or reconnecting to family, culture, traditions, or community, it’s all about providing the invisible structure of support, that scaffolding so someone can find their place and their purpose.”

A side-by-side image of Tamarack Recovery Centre's two buildings.

Reconnecting with one’s community is a crucial aspect of recovery and sobriety. Tamarack is a conduit through which reconnection can be made, with the “safety-scaffolding,” evidence-based treatment, and
expertise to guide clients through the recovery process. Every case is unique; therefore, every treatment plan must also be unique.

“We are adapting to meet the very specific needs of individuals at whatever level they’re at, in terms of their recovery journey,” says Cowan.

The Manitoba Centre for Health Policy reports that in 2019-2020, there were 6,606 admissions to addiction treatment services in Winnipeg, and the average length of stay in treatment was 38 days. Tamarack’s residential treatment program is 60 days, with the extended programming, aftercare, and transitional housing creating time and space for individuals to reintegrate into society at a pace that works for them.

“With the advantage of having a longer program, being able to go deeper, we really are encouraging people to start to identify some of the earlier traumas,” says Cowan. “Some of the things that impacted them, that led them to use substances to cope.”

Tamarack’s trauma-informed approach provides guidance, service, and a structure that leads to better outcomes across the board, with 92% of the program’s graduates continuing to access resources for ongoing support. The Centre’s staff-to-client ratio of 1:4 allows for individualized attention and support
during the recovery process. The organization is held in high regard, and 75% of Tamarack’s clients say they chose the program because it was recommended by someone they trust.

“Safety completely underpins everything we do. It allows us to offer a very welcoming environment where people who come to us hopefully very quickly feel like they can trust us and keep coming back to work with us without judgment.”

There are no magic bullets for recovery or treatment, but Cowan and her team at Tamarack are working to provide solutions that are evidence-based and client-driven, while supporting and contributing to the West-Broadway Neighbourhood. “Responsibility can allow you to feel like you are a part of something
and you’re contributing,” says Cowan. “You’re not just receiving, because nobody wants to feel disempowered; it’s all about empowering people.”

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