Making a u-turn to recovery
Jeff Bourne of Victoria is a recovering alcoholic and addict who has no qualms about making himself transparent and, if necessary, vulnerable.
Last Wednesday, an idea he helped spearhead finally came to fruition. U-Turn Drop-in Centre in Carbonear, a project of the Community Awareness Addictions Committee, was officially opened to people who struggle with addiction issues.
Four years ago, Bourne, 39, asked his clergy, Rev. Jesse Bown of the Victoria/Freshwater United Church pastoral charge, “ You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?”
Together, they set out on a journey to establish what Bourne calls a place for people to “get a little bit of hope.”
A few short years ago, hope was the farthest thing from Bourne’s mind.
As an addict, he had reached his own personal bottom, “either life or death. One morning, I was on my way to kill myself.”
However, wi t h the support of his church and clergy, he took a decisive uturn to recovery.
The centre, which is located at 46 Powell Drive, is a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit to rise from the depths of despair to the heights of, well, hope.
As good as Bourne and Bown’s idea was, it was dead in the water without set-up and operating funds. Enter the provincial government. Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy said, “we found the provincial funding to start the project.” All $50,000. Now the centre is off and running.
Too often, addiction issues, like mental health challenges, are swept under the rug, as though they don’t exist or, if they do exist, they are less serious than some people make them out to be.
Four years ago, Bourne could have hidden his personal demons and struggled to handle them on his own. However, he chose to go the public route and enlist the help of individuals who were in a position to help.
There is obviously a very real need in our society for such a facility. As more and more people with challenges step forward, perhaps the Carbonear template will be replicated elsewhere. There may yet come a day when addiction issues take on a stigma-free public face. At least, one can hope.