“When I came into AARC, I was absolutely hopeless. I could not picture my life without drugs nor could I even see a point to living; seventeen years old and my life was basically over. I people-pleased to get my way, while being extremely fake to hide what I was really feeling. On the inside I was extremely bitter, hurt, lonely, insecure, ashamed, and angry. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to look at the terrible person I had become through my disease, and to see how much I had hurt my family and those around me. As I went through treatment I struggled with self-acceptance and resentment, but I also learned to be honest with others and myself. Today I am sober, full of hope and excitement for life; I am grateful for a second chance.”
Braydon B., AARC Graduate #504
“Nothing can describe the darkness I felt as a hopeless 15-year-old drug addict. I was living on the street and was stealing money to buy drugs. My entire life’s purpose was to get high. I didn’t care about anyone or anything and I only cared about taking my pain away. Finally one night, even the drugs stopped working. I had been doing drugs all day and all night and it wasn’t taking the pain away. As I walked around town, I didn’t know what to do and I found myself at my parents’ house. I rang the doorbell and for the first time truly asked for help. The next day, my dad and I were in the car on our way to Calgary to go to AARC. I was so scared; so scared of going back to drugs but I was also terrified of living life without them.
AARC was the best thing that ever happened to me. It changed my life completely. I learned to deal with my feelings, with my pain and with my shame. I returned to school, eventually making my way to university where I earned a Bachelors of History. Today, my life is amazing. I am a teacher, I am married to the most amazing woman and I have spent the last 6 years living and travelling around the world. All of that aside, today, I can say that I am at peace. I feel like a different person when I think about the hopeless kid who couldn’t go a day without getting high.
Every day, I am thankful for AARC and the staff that works there because they could see the light when all I could see was the darkness.”
Steve B., AARC Graduate #86
Read more of AARC’s inspiring success stories at http://aarc.ab.ca/success-stories/
AARC is an accredited long-term intensive treatment centre for chemically addicted adolescents between the ages of 12 and 21. Since its inception in 1991, AARC has graduated over 618 clients and approximately 200 additional family members. Independent validation of AARC’s treatment outcomes reported that an overwhelming number of our graduates today are clean and sober, in school or working and reunited with their families.
AARC was created as a community response to growing recognition of the need for a Calgary based intensive treatment program for chemically dependent adolescents. AARC, a highly specialized, long-term program, has provided a solution that has made a significant contribution to the continuum of care by treating severely addicted adolescents and their families
Learn more about AARC at https://aarc.ab.ca/more-about-aarc
AARC’s treatment program supports youth struggling with addictions. The duration of the program is, on average, 277 days. AARC’s program is built around the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with 4 transitionary levels to help youth identify their addiction, develop coping skills, restoration of family relationships, integration into community schools or employment and preparation for sustainable sobriety after graduation.
When youth enter AARC they are on level 1 for an average of 4.5 months with a primary focus on individual and group sessions. This period of treatment is spent understanding their addiction, the impact addiction has had on their lives and beginning to develop strategies to address the thinking/behaviours that may lead them back to substance use. On level 2 youth are re-united with their families and begin to act as mentors to level 1 clients. The average time spent on level 2 is approximately 3 months and clients continue to discuss their life in addiction, while learning daily living skills for substance free living. Clients spend an average of 2.5 months on level 3 & 4 and this is when youth begin the transition back into the community by attending community schools or obtaining employment depending on their academic progress. They spend less time at the centre and more time preparing for life after treatment. Continuing as mentors, youth are strongly encouraged to support newer clients by sharing their journey through addiction and recovery.
The Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre is committed to ensuring that treatment remains accessible to all families, regardless of income level. The vast majority of our clients receive a subsidy for their treatment fees. These subsidies are made possible through donations and fundraising initiatives. Each year, AARC needs to raise over $2,000,000 to maintain its current level of operations.
Your donation will go toward offsetting treatment fees that include on-site one-on-one clinical counseling for clients and families, outside clinical consulting, recreation programs, meals and education.
For AARC’s vital work to continue, financial support from the community is essential. Teen addicts are everyone’s concern. They are this community’s children and therefore this community’s future. We have the power to help more of them recover and live clean and sober lives.
To make a donation, please visit http://aarc.ab.ca/donors/make-a-donation/