As some people know, I am what I used to refer to as a recovering alcoholic. These days I prefer to say I’m in recovery from an alcohol use disorder. I realize it’s less catchy, but it emphasizes the fact that I am more than just my addiction. We call this “person-first language”. Studies have shown repeatedly that words like “alcoholic” and “addict” contribute to the stigmatization of people with these issues.  As we say on our website, 

Stigma is best understood as a deeply held set of false beliefs about a group of people with at least one attribute in common. This allows the judgement, oppression and discrimination of those people to take place. This is done by either overt actions or silent complicity with those actions.

With this in mind, I am on the Board Of Directors of CAPSA, The Community Addiction Peer Support Association. We envision a world where all individuals have access to the informed services and supports in seeking help for their substance use health without stigma or discrimination. As part of my work for CAPSA, I chair a weekly All People, All Pathways meeting. Again, quoting our website,

All People, All Pathways meetings are the foundational concept of our group. Honouring your journey and your destination and recognizing that there are many ways to increased wellness and many people will walk on different paths. The purpose of our weekly peer group is to provide safe and aware environment for those seeking help to question their relationship with substances, free from stigma or discrimination. APAP believes that you will find your answers and the best path for you and your goals for increased wellness. Our group is inclusive of all individuals seeking increased health in their relationship with substances. Their families, allies, and professionals are all welcome to attend our meetings.

If you are interested in attending these meetings or would like more information please feel free to contact me.

Here’s a video put together by CAPSA on the neuroscience of addiction. 

I got better.

I am also a member of Refuge Recovery Ottawa. Refuge Recovery is a community of people who are using the practices of mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, and generosity to heal the pain and suffering that addiction has caused in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The path of practice that we follow is called the Four Truths of Refuge Recovery.

The Four Truths of Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist-­oriented path to recovery from addictions. It has proven successful with addicts and alcoholics who have committed to the Buddhist path of meditation, generosity, kindness, and renunciation. More information can be found at the Refuge Recovery website,

I volunteer regularly at The Shepherds Of Good Hope. Shepherds of Good Hope fosters hope and reduces harm in Ottawa by supporting people experiencing homelessness and vulnerable adults in our community through specialized services, programs and partnerships. If you have time and/or money to spare, it is a very good cause.