When one door closes, another opens

Image via www.lastdoor.org
Image via www.lastdoor.org

Last Door youth addiction surpasses 20 years helping locals

By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter

Although many people may associate drug addiction with communities such as Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, those that struggle daily with drug abuse can also be found much closer to home.

New Westminster’s Last Door Recovery Society, a non-profit charity, has been working since 1984 to break the ongoing addictions everyday people face—whether they are addictions to smoking, gambling, alcohol, drugs, or perhaps Internet and video games. According to their website, the recovery centre is “respected in the Drug and Alcohol addiction Field, and received the ASAP (Association of Substance Abuse Programs of BC) Award of Excellence in Addictions.” Since 1996, the centre has included a youth program to save the young lives from becoming a statistic.

Peter Beka, Addiction Counsellor Youth Program Coordinator, has experienced exactly that during his early years. In a phone interview with CBC, Beka shared how his passion for helping others brought him back to the centre, years after he got clean thanks to Last Door.

Upon discovering that the Downtown Eastside wasn’t the only place for those struggling with addiction, Beka and his team realized that they needed to broaden their options. Recently, Last Door began family programs, in which an individual with an addiction can work towards recovery alongside the love and affection provided not only by the employees, but their family members. Beka noted the benefits he’s seen in those who make the issue a family matter. Additionally, he talked about how the little things truly add up to bring about a success story.

“Feeling better is not how you’re gonna get off drugs,” said Beka in the CBC interview. “To feel better and to be happy takes a spiritual awakening—something as simple as having a good night’s sleep, somebody who cares, something to eat, and not being afraid of living in anxiety or paranoia.”

With a total of 100 beds, the majority of treatment plans are gender specific to males, young and old. Thanks to the Family Living programs, both genders of all ages are welcome. With a nurturing volunteer who understands what you’ve been through beside you on your journey to recovery, it seems like success is truly not too far around the corner.

“You get time to develop the skills to stay clean rather than be clean then shake their hand and say ‘good luck,’” noted David Pavlus, Executive Director, in a YouTube clip.

“We really want you to be good at it by the time you’re leaving, if that’s having a relationship, having a career, or going back to school, we can set a time frame and work towards mending those situations. If it’s someone off the street, you have to help them reinvent their life. But at the end of day, it’s worth it.”