Leslie, Addictions Services Initiative (ASI) Participant: I was on crack cocaine. I lived basically from house to house, I never had a stable environment.

Everything was always up in the air — you never knew where you were going to lay your head that night or if you were going to be safe.

I lost pretty much contact with everybody in my family, so my addiction really took over then. The main reason why I wanted to get clean was to reconnect with them.

Jennifer Crowell-Jay, Intensive Case Manager, Chatham-Kent: The Addictions Services Program is a program that’s open to Ontario Works participants.

My worker explained to me that they have an addictions program here, and that I would be a suitable candidate to go into the program.

When I first met Leslie, she had already begun the process of recognizing that she needed to make some major changes.

We have specialized knowledge of programs like AA – Alcoholics Anonymous, NA — Narcotics Anonymous, CA — Cocaine Anonymous.

We also provide supports to the client to be able to get to these programs. So things like bus passes, travel money as well.

I did go to a couple of AA meetings and NA meetings — that was a big portion of getting clean, was attending those counselling sessions.

So I went on to personal counselling at the Mental Health Unit. And I think I really benefited because I found out what about me was making me want to use all the time. And it was a low self-esteem issue.

Once they start to move forward in their treatment plan, they find that they have been very isolated.

Square One is our life skills program where we try and reintroduce people back into the services available to them into their community.

And we do things like personality dimensions, team building, self-esteem. We give them information about programs.

I’ve seen Leslie’s self-esteem skyrocket. It has just gone through the roof. She recognizes that she is a valuable member of our community.

Leslie: I think I’m going back to school. I’m going to take a 911 operator’s course; I’m really looking forward to it. In the meantime, I’m going to look for full-time employment.

I called my mom last December, it was her birthday. And I hadn’t talked to her in three years. And I said, “I just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday and tell you that I’m sorry and I love you.”

And soon as I got back in touch with mother, of course the rest came. My sons and my sisters decided to follow suit, and they’re all very supportive now.

I’m a prime example of self-esteem down here or self-esteem up here. I like it better up here: it’s working for me.