Our Intensive Family Support Program is a client centered, trauma informed home visiting program for families. In this program, we are pleased to see a variety of families reunited together. We strongly believe that each family is special, unique and full of strengths.
This story is shared in John’s words with his full permission. We thank John for his courage and bravery as he shares his important and powerful story.
Hi, my name is John. I am a 36-year-old male born and raised in Kamsack Saskatchewan. I am a middle child of three. I had a decent upbringing but there were addictions in the home. My grandparents were our positive support growing up. My Grandfather believed in traditional ways and my Grandmother was Catholic who I often went to church with.
Being raised on a first nation reserve, there was a lot of active addiction and I witnessed it. My grandparents did their very best to steer all of us in the right direction, but somewhere along the way, I found myself mixed up with the wrong crowd and wanting to fit in. By doing that, it caused a lot of chaos in my life & before you knew it, I was addicted. Addiction slowly progressed and my life became unmanageable. I in and out of detoxes, jails and almost losing my life on more than one occasion.
2002- I was drinking & driving, got into a really bad car accident that resulted in me being sued. I almost lost my life along with 5 other people involved in the accident. After almost losing my life and driving without a licence, I gave up hope of ever getting a licence. I then not only drank but started experimenting with other drugs. I became addicted to prescription drugs that led me to be hooked. The more I used drugs, the more I found myself sitting in jail cells because of the crimes I committed. From 2010 –2019 was the start of a continued cycle of me being in and out of jail every year. In between those times, I also found myself reaching out and admitting myself into detoxes centers wanting to change. “I didn’t like the way I felt and the people I was hurting, not only them but most of all myself”. I carried around a lot of guilt and shame for many years because of undealt with issues.
On August 3, 2019, I found myself once again in a jail cell. Arrested for shoplifting & as a result of my crimes, the justice system wanted 18 months of incarceration due to my previous record. I was on remand for 53 days & during that time I was able to gain a clear conscience, realizing that wasn’t the life I wanted to live anymore. While being on remand I learned about a program for criminally addicted offenders and Regina Drug Treatment Court was that program. On September 24, 2019, I was released into this program & put on conditions.
After being released I connected with Child Family services in regards to my children, who were in care for almost 2 years. By doing this I was able to speak with my children over the telephone. As time went on I was able to work towards supervised visits and eventually around Christmas 2019 unsupervised visits came. I had my kids for a potluck on Christmas. Social services were able to provide me with extra benefits for me to move into a bigger home. The visits continued into the New Year. Then COVID-19 hit and slowed everything down and backed everything up. So we went back to phone calls and video chats.
Come June of 2020 I was able to see my children regularly and had my own 3 bedroom townhouse. I was connected with a Support worker from CFS Regina. My support worker started off supervising visits to quickly having unsupervised visits. Having a support worker was really comforting knowing I had someone there, helping with getting me to appointments and having connections to the community. They assisted me with taking a parenting class “Kids Have Stress Too!” with that being a great learning experience. Being a single father is a challenge and having a support worker guide me through filling out forms, assisting with transportation with having food put on the table for my family. That support definitely helped me take a big step in the right direction. My children were fully returned at the end of August and shortly after the MSS closed my file.
I graduated from the Regina Drug Treatment Court on October 27, 2020, after being in the program for 13 months. I am currently still on probation & working towards obtaining my grade 12 education, along with getting a driver’s license and being a full-time father. These are some of the things I am grateful for today because I chose the path of sobriety. I am still learning each and every day as I go along. To anyone out there that may be caught up in addiction or finds themselves struggling with life, there is hope and support out there, reach out, find the help, talk about your problems and don’t give up! I am living proof that people can change!!
Wonderfully written by John with permission to be shared by Shannon Warken, Family Support Program Support Worker