Men who enter The Mission’s 5-month LifeHouse residential addiction treatment program (usually 11 per group) live in a small house adjacent to the shelter. They often form strong bonds with one another as they share their life experiences during group counselling sessions, and also share responsibilities for cooking and cleaning the house. Sometimes there is someone in the group who – like Maurice – brings special qualities to the table.
Maurice graduated from LifeHouse in late 2016 at the age of 52. His life journey before coming to us was a hard one. He was born and raised in Vankleek Hill, and throughout his younger years he worked as a bricklayer and a high rise window cleaner. He also spent considerable time studying to become a minister, and was always reaching out to others who were struggling. But, as time went by, Maurice’s mental health deteriorated – he suffered from severe mood swings and depression. His illness eventually caused him to lose many jobs, his marriage fell apart, and he began self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t until Maurice learned about treatment programs at The Ottawa Mission that things began to turn around for him, and he is now looking forward with hope to a much better life – and one he plans to devote to helping others.
It is his strong desire to help people that, according to his counsellor at The Mission, made such a difference to the other men in his LifeHouse group. Especially during the early months of the program, the counselling, group sessions, and a great deal of soul-searching can often become overwhelming. If Maurice knew that someone was having a bad day, he would always take the time to offer whatever encouragement he could. And he always greeted everyone with what became his trademark – “Have a great day, and God bless you!”His kindness and optimistic outlook left a lasting impression on his housemates, as well as on the staff at The Mission.